Barristers are now allowed to provide their services directly to the public, in appropriate cases. For further information regarding Public Access Guidance for Lay Clients, please visit the link below
This means that in some instances a solicitor does not need to be instructed, before you may see a barrister, and thus substantial savings may be made in conducting a legal case this way.
How to instruct a Public Access barrister
When getting in touch with us, you will be talking to one of our experienced clerks who will ask you a series of questions to clarify the details of the case and what work the public access barrister will be undertaking.
You will be asked whether you have chosen a barrister to instruct.
If you have not chosen a barrister, then one of our clerks will you help you to make that choice from our team of barristers who have the right experience and who are available for your area of work and within your budget.
The barrister you have chosen will either call you or you will be given a date and time to call them.
Your barrister can find out more about your case, assess it and discuss the options for working together and the likely cost. The details of your case will then be passed to the barrister that is chosen to represent you.
Please note that there is no charge for this.
Please also note that you can instruct a barrister at any stage of your case, including prior to the issue of proceedings.
Your barrister will conduct an initial interview or conference with you, either in person at our chambers or by remote means (Zoom Call/Skype), to assess your case and if your instructions are accepted, your barrister will then provide the following services:
- Providing legal advice and written opinions
- Drafting documents for filing at court and service on the other side
- Advise you on drafting letters or other documents.
- Represent you at court.
In the event your barrister takes the view your case is more suited to another barrister (because of specialist knowledge, experience or other factors) or not suitable for public access work we can either put you in touch with other barristers or, if you wish, give you a list of solicitors who may be able to help you.
There is no charge for this. If at any stage your barrister considers that you need additional assistance, possibly a solicitor, they will be able to guide and advise you about how to begin that process.
Can I instruct a barrister if I have a legal aided certificate?
Please note that barristers are not allowed to do legal aid work on a Public Access basis. To help you make an informed decision about whether to apply for legal aid or proceed with Public Access, you can use the legal aid eligibility calculator on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid.
Agreeing the details of your matter
When your case has been assessed we will put together a written plan of the work that will be needed. This will include the formal acceptance of your instructions, the time that each stage will take, the availability of your barrister for written work, further meetings with you and attendance at court.
Also included in this document will be a fee quotation in accordance with our Terms and Conditions of Service which you should read and agree to.
Your barristers will work on pre-agreed fees which are subject to VAT. An indication of the fees that may be charged and the possible reasons vor vaying these is here.
In addition to the fees payable to your agreed barrister you will be responsible for meeting any court fees which are due.
These are determined by the complexity of the work you wish to have undertaken and the length of time it will take.
Our client care letter will set out clearly all of the fees you have agreed to as well as confirmation that you have read and agree to be bound by our Terms and Conditions.
The fees are payable in advance by bank transfer, cheque, cash or debit/credit card telephone payment. After any payment we will send you a receipt with our VAT number. Our barristers are busy, specialist court advocates.
Most of their working days are spent in court or away from chambers.
Most barristers will prefer to communicate by email rather than telephone but the means of communication between you and your barrister should be agreed early on.
It is also easier and fairer for both you and the barrister to keep a clear record of your communications with each other.
Public Access Barristers are regulated by Bar Standards Board and abide by strict professional rules; these can be found here.
This gives the benefit of consumer protection and the backing of a professional conduct regime built up over centuries. Only barristers who have the specialist public access qualification can work directly with clients.
If you’d like more information about how a barrister could work with you directly, you can look at the public access page of the Bar Council’s website.