Since 2004 barristers have been able to accept instructions directly from members of the public or professional organisations without the involvement of a solicitor. Barristers may do any work on a public access basis which they would normally do when instructed via a solicitor provided that they have completed the Bar Council approved course. Barristers may not currently accept instructions directly where the client would be eligible for public funding.
‘Direct Access’ is the generic term that is commonly used to describe ‘Public Access’ or ‘Licensed Access’ work. Public Access is an initiative by the Bar Council which enables individuals in particular circumstances to seek advice and representation from a barrister directly, without having to instruct a solicitor. Licensed Access* is a similar initiative, but it relates to organisations.
Zenith Chambers have a number of barristers specialising in different fields who accept work on a public access basis, whether in criminal, civil or family matters, and we are pleased to be able to offer advice and representation on a public access basis as a complement to the work which we carry out on instructions from solicitors.
If you are involved in, or are contemplating, legal proceedings and would like to arrange an appointment with one of our barristers for advice, or would like a barrister to represent you at a hearing or in negotiations, we would be happy to receive a call or email from you to discuss whether your case is suitable for direct access representation, and how we may be able to help you. Whilst our barristers can represent you from beginning to end of a case by advising, drafting, attending meetings and through specialist advocacy, often litigants in person instruct barristers directly to carry out discrete pieces of work such as representation at a particular hearing or for advice in conference at an early stage. One of the advantages of instructing a barrister directly is the flexibility to involve the barrister at key points when you most need their specialist services.
When you contact us to indicate that you would like to meet with one of our barristers, our clerks will assist you with identifying which barrister is most suited to your case. Alternatively, you may contact one of the barristers offering services on a public access directly through their Zenith email address or by telephoning chambers to speak to them. We also regularly take referrals from solicitors when a client’s particular requirements may be better met by instructing a barrister directly. In most circumstances it is necessary to arrange an initial free half hour appointment with you to discuss your requirements and whether your case is suitable for instructing a barrister on a public access basis. If you decide that you would like to go ahead with instructing the barrister to carry out work, a clear schedule of the work required and the fixed cost of that work, together with time scales, will be agreed with you before any work takes place on your behalf. Payment of that agreed cost is then required. If at any stage the barrister considers that your case is not suitable for instructing a barrister on a direct access basis, the barrister will assist you with finding the right solicitor for your case.
Click here to download our ‘Direct Access FAQ’s Fact Sheet’
For more information about the scheme, visit www.barcouncilboard.org.uk
*Those organisations (or individuals) seeking a licence to enable them to instruct barristers direct must complete an application form which is available from the Bar Standards Board website. www.barstandardsboard.org.uk Theses applications are considered by panels of the Qualifications Committee. If granted, licences are usually tailor made to suit the skills and expertise of the organisation concerned and can cover both advisory and advocacy work. The licensee must send a copy of the licence to the barrister with each set of instructions.