Direct Access

We have a large team of barristers who are trained and experienced in Direct Public Access relating to both children and financial cases. In the right case, direct access to a barrister - without first instructing a solicitor - can be quicker and better value for clients.

Before 2004 it was not possible for members of the public to engage a barrister without first instructing a solicitor. That changed when the Public Access Rules for barristers were introduced in 2004. You may now instruct a barrister directly.

In certain cases, barristers can accept work directly from the public, other professionals, foreign lawyers, organisations and commercial companies without incurring the additional expense of a solicitor, potentially saving you a significant amount of money overall.

Communication with a specialist direct access barrister is faster because you are dealing with the barrister directly. Direct Access to barristers, however, may not be appropriate in the majority of cases - which are better suited to the traditional model of instructing a barrister through a solicitor.

Full details of the Bar Council’s public access scheme, including relevant guidance, can be found on their website at:www.barcouncil.org.uk. Not all cases will be suitable, but the Bar Council sets out the details of the sort of direct access work a barrister is permitted to conduct without a solicitor being involved.

In brief, a barrister working on direct public access cases can represent a client in courts and tribunals, and provide specialist legal advice including giving a second opinion. He or she can also assist in drafting correspondence, statements and documents required by the court, and he or she can advise on the use and instruction of experts in certain cases.

However, a direct access barrister cannot correspond directly with other parties in the case, or collect evidence or interview witnesses. They cannot issue court documents, instruct experts directly on your behalf, or handle clients’ money or hold money on account.

We have a large team of leading specialist family law barristers at 4 Paper Buildings. We can offer a wide range of experience to suit each individual case. The cost will depend upon the seniority of the barrister and the nature of the case. In setting fees we will also take into account the complexity of your case, the urgency of the work and the amount of work involved. However, please note that all fees must be paid in advance and before the barrister will carry out the work you require.

All barristers who accept work under the direct access scheme are registered to do so by the Bar Standards Board and operate under the Code of Conduct for Barristers in England and Wales, and under the Public Access Rules.

If you are interested in instructing a barrister under the direct access scheme, then please email us on directaccess@4pb.com or phone to speak Denise Fallon or Kenny Martin, our dedicated Direct Access clerks.

They will not be able to advise you, or discuss the details of your case with you at length, but will ask you to complete in typescript a Form C1 (in a case about children) or a Form E (in a case about finances) and return it to us by email - together with a typed email statement of no more than 4 sides - setting out the nature of the case and what you are hoping to achieve from it; so the direct access barrister can assess whether your case is suitable for direct access.

If so, we can arrange a meeting in chambers or, in special circumstances, elsewhere, to consider the situation in more detail. If the case can be progressed on that basis, you will be offered the opportunity to enter into an agreement with the direct access barrister to take the case forward.

Please download the relevant pages:

Form C1
Form E