Direct Public Access

Historically barristers were only able to represent a client if instructed by a solicitor. In 2009, the regulations changed, meaning that members of the public can now directly access barristers. This has a number of advantages for the lay client, principally a financial saving.

Barristers are specialist advocates and advisers. Under the direct public access scheme, sometimes called the public instruction scheme, you can engage and deal directly with your barrister without the need to instruct a solicitor as well.

Direct public access means:

  • You can take responsibility for the preliminary work that would otherwise be done by a solicitor, in order to save yourself money.
  • You can control costs. You will be given a breakdown for each element of the case. This will be in a contract between you and the barrister. This means that you cannot be charged any more than what has been agreed.

We appreciate that it is not necessarily always right to instruct a barrister directly. We will give you an honest appraisal of your case and tell you whether it is in your best interests to instruct a barrister directly or for you to employ a solicitor as well.

If you have a legal matter that needs attention you can:

We will be pleased to help you understand the process and assess whether this is the right route for you.

Our Services

Our aim is to provide a personal, accessible and professional service. We can:

  • Give you expert legal advice and represent you in court
  • Draft documents for you including formal court documents
  • Advise you on formal steps which need to be taken in proceedings before a court or other organisation and draft formal documents for use in those proceedings
  • Help you to draft correspondence
  • Help to draft witness statements based on provided information
  • Advise you on the need and choice of a suitable expert and draft instructions to expert witnesses
  • Offer you advice on the next steps to be taken in proceedings

We cannot:

  • Issue proceedings or take other formal steps in court or other proceedings
  • Instruct an expert witness on your behalf
  • Handle client money where you might expect us to pay it to a third party or return it to you

 

How do I instruct a Charter barrister direct?

The first step is to make contact with us (charterdirect@charterchambers.com). Our clerks are trained in managing direct public access, experienced in recommending barristers with the relevant expertise to assist you and will ensure that business matters are dealt with efficiently and effectively. 

A barrister will have a preliminary discussion with you to identify the salient features of your problem in order to advise you on the work that will be required, the time it will take and its cost. We will then be able to give you a quotation and send you a contract. This will set out the costs and the work to be done.  

When you receive the contract from us you will need to read it carefully. You should check that it sets out clearly the work and cost that was agreed between you and the barrister. If you think there are any problems with it you must contact us and discuss it. 

How much will it cost?

We usually charge for our work on an hourly basis. The exact hourly rate will depend on the nature and complexity of your legal problem and the seniority of the barrister you choose to deal with your case. Our more junior barristers charge between £100 to £300 per hour and our most senior barristers, including those who are Queen's Counsel (silks), typically charge between £300 to £500 per hour plus VAT.

We will give you a fixed price for advisory and drafting work in advance. If this is the case, we will not exceed the amount we have quoted without your express prior authority. 

We usually charge fixed-rate fees for advocacy in court. We will negotiate these fees with you in advance of appearing on your behalf.

When do I have to pay?

If we have provided you with a fixed price we will require the fees to be paid in advance of any work being done. 

Where further work is required by the barrister in addition to that which was initially agreed, an additional new quote and contract will be issued.

Where can I get further information?

More information about the Public Access rules is available on the Bar Council’s website: www.barcouncil.org.uk.

Can I email you about my legal issue?

Yes. Email the team on charterdirect@charterchambers.com