Direct Public Access to Barristers
What is Direct Access?
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Traditionally and before the concept of Direct Access was born, members of the public could only instruct Barrister to either advise or represent them via the traditional route of having to instruct a Solicitor first and the Solicitor instructing the Barrister on behalf of the client. Clients were not permitted to either contact or instruct Barristers directly. The concept of Direct Access has been developed by the Bar Council and now members of the public can instruct a Barrister directly.
What type of cases can a Barrister take on a Direct Access basis?
Since the removal of restrictions in relation to Crime, Family and Immigration a Barrister can accept ANY case on a Direct Access basis should they wish to. Not all Barristers will operate within the Direct Access market.
What type of work can a Barrister conduct on a Direct Access Basis?
- Advisory work
- Drafting documents (although NOT claim forms)
- Engage in correspondence
- Attend meetings, settlement negotiations
- Collecting evidence (although this is governed by strict rules)
What type of work is NOT permitted on a Direct Access Basis and where clients may need help?
- A Barrister is NOT permitted to conduct litigation or general case management. We are able to offer a service to Barristers Chambers which in turn will provide support to clients.
- Barristers cannot conduct litigation except where they are authorised to do so by their governing body. Some Barristers have previously been Solicitors or have undertaken a litigation qualification and as such there are some that can conduct litigation.
- A Barrister and his/her Chambers are NOT permitted to handle client money which includes the barristers fees for multi-day hearings on a consecutive basis.
- Barristers and their Chambers are however permitted to make use of a third party payment service for making payments to or from the client. The service they use must not result in the Barrister receiving controlling or handling client money and must only be used for client money for the provision of legal services including fees disbursements and/or settlement money. The support of a solicitor in this respect can add value by making life easier for both the barrister and the client.
The Definition of Conducting Litigation
- Issuing of proceedings before any Court in England and Wales
- Commencement, prosecution and defence of such proceedings
- The performance of any ancillary functions in relation to such proceedings
The Bar Standards Board guidance on conducting litigation includes:-
- Issuing proceedings or applications
- Acknowledging service of proceedings
- Permitting your address to be given as an address for service
- Filing documents at court or serving upon another party
- Issuing Notices of Appeal
- Barristers cannot handle client money or undertake the organisation or management of a case proceeding through the Court
- Legal Aid is not available for Direct Access
What Can We Offer?
Clearly, there is a need for a case management service which Barristers are not allowed to provide. We have a range of services which can complement the service from the Barrister. Clients have the benefit of reduced fees on a fixed fee basis assisting them through procedure and conducting litigation albeit on limited terms depending on the service being utilised but not having to bear the cost of advice on how their case is conducted. Clients can often become overwhelmed with the process so varying levels of support can be offered and a fixed fee where appropriate.
There are various services that IBB can provide which are set out below.
Single work item
These are charged on a time basis as an individual piece of work. Unless it is necessary to involve one of our solicitors our experienced Case Managers guide our clients. This allows access to support in a cost-effective way. Payments that need to be made to third parties, for example Court Fees, would be in addition to the fee payable to IBB.
Examples of the type of work covered would be:-
- Preparation of claim form (A Barrister cannot do this but can draft the particulars or points of claim or statement in support)
- the issue of proceedings at Court
- the preparation of a Court Bundle of documents for a hearing to ensure compliance with Court Practice Directions.
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