Frequently Asked Questions
Is direct access and public access the same thing?
In respect of our services to the general public –Yes direct and public access are the same thing.
How can a Direct Access Barrister help me under the direct/ public access scheme?
A barrister can advise you- either in writing or at a conference or both
A barrister can draft letters and correspondence
A barrister can look at any court documents which you need to prepare and help you with the preparation of them
A barrister can help you to prepare any bundles
A barrister can draft court documents such as case summaries and skeleton arguments for example
A barrister can attend at court and represent you
What can’t a Barrister do for me under the direct/ public access scheme?
A barrister cannot apply for legal aid- if you may be eligible a barrister will recommend that you instruct a solicitor to apply for legal aid on your behalf
On a direct access basis, a barrister cannot be paid by way of legal aid; you would need to instruct a solicitor who can then instruct a barrister.
Unless the barrister is qualified to carry out litigation a barrister can’t:
- Prepare court documents such as applications, pleadings, and statements (apart from in some very limited circumstances).
- File court documents
- Instruct an expert
- Hold money to pay an expert
- Accept documents as service
- Prepare court bundles
If the barrister is qualified to carry out litigation
- They can do all of the above but it is highly unlikely that they will be able to represent you at court and you will need to instruct someone else.
What will I be expected to do?
In some circumstances you can deal with some parts of your case with the assistance of barrister and for other parts of your case you may need a solicitor.
Throughout the process if at any point the barrister is of the view that you need the assistance of a solicitor then you will be given this advice
You will need to prepare court documents such as applications, pleadings and statements
File court documents with the other party/ parties and the court
Instruct and pay experts if relevant
Prepare court bundles
What will it cost?
For each piece of discrete work you will be quoted a fixed fee unless there is uncertainty about the number of hours which the piece of work/ attendance at court will cost
If there is uncertainty about the number of hours then you will be quoted an hourly fee which will be capped at a maximum amount
In respect of court hearings you will be given a fixed fee for the maximum length of hours/ number of days which the case is likely to last but if the case takes considerably less time than money can be repaid to you.
In certain cases (where large amounts of fees are involved for example) you may be asked to pay the fees into an account which will be set up with BARCO (the Bar’s own escrow account).
How do I have pay?
You have to pay in advance before the work is due/ court attendance is listed
The payment can be by cheque of by a bank transfer but cannot be by way of a cash payment
Will I have the same Barrister Throughout?
Every effort will be made to ensure that the same barrister helps you. Barristers have professional commitments and sometimes your case may clash with another appointment. If your barrister is unavailable as a result you will be offered alternative barristers
It is open to you at any stage to decide that you want to seek help from a different barrister
What do I need to do initially?
Firstly you will need to complete our Direct Access details form from this one of our qualified Public Access Counsel will decide whether you case is suitable as a direct access matter.
You will need to provide proof of your identity- driving license, passport or another official document which has your photograph displayed
You will need to provide a utility bill showing your address which is not more than 3 months old.
Original documents will need to be provided and photocopies will be taken of the originals
You will need to attend Chambers with the documents so that your identity can be verified (although if this is impossible then Skype can be utilised for example).
You will need to provide a summary of the help which you seek and some background facts
What will I receive?
You will be sent a client care letter which will set out the terms upon which you have instructed a barrister.
Each time you ask a barrister to carry out a piece of work for you, you will be sent a further client care letter.
How will the clerks help me?
The clerks at directacccesschambers.com will be your initial point of contact. They will collect proof of identity, utility bill and the summary of help.
The clerks will be your subsequent point of contact if and when you ask for further assistance
The clerks will liaise with you in relation to the fees and arrange payment of the fees
What is a Litigant in Person?
A litigant in person is an individual, company or organisation that is not represented in court by a solicitor or barrister, but nevertheless has rights of audience (this is, the right to address the court in person). Instructing a barrister and not a solicitor, for example through the public access scheme, however, does not prevent the party on whose behalf the barrister had been instructed from being a litigant in person. Source; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
What is Public Access/Direct Access
Public Access (also known as Direct Access) is a recent change to the law which enables Barristers to take on work from clients without the need for a Solicitor. Whether you are a Business, organisation or individual member of the public, you are now able to instruct a Barrister directly.
In Public Access cases you will be the one running your own case, but will have the specialist knowledge and guidance from a Barrister before going to court – where the Barrister can represent you. Public Access is a flexible service which means that you can decide how much or how little assistance you require from your legal professional. This bespoke method gives clients the ability to save money and have more of a say in the process.
What we can offer you
Our chambers offer a range of options to you in any Public Access case. Your service can be tailored to your needs and our Barristers have a wealth of experience in various fields. You can view individual members’ profiles via the members section of the website. All of our Public Access Barristers are accredited and registered with the Bar Standards Board.
What’s so different about Public Access
The usual way to instruct a Barrister is by first instructing a Solicitor. A Solicitor will help to organise and run the case for you but this can sometimes be an unnecessary expense. With Public Access you can instruct a Barrister directly, to advise and represent you at court. Whilst this may seem daunting, many of our Barristers have experience working in Solicitors’ offices; they can advise and assist you in running your case effectively. Our Barristers will always consider your needs, if it becomes apparent that you would benefit from hiring a Solicitor (for example if the case becomes very complicated) we will help to advise you of your options.
If you want to learn more about public access and whether this is the right option for you, the Bar Council web site provides further information at http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/instructing-a-barrister/public-access/. Alternatively please feel free to contact our clerks on 01792 411188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on what services we can offer. At Pendragon Chambers we are happy to accept direct access/public access instructions in suitable cases.
Whilst we are obviously delighted to hear positive feedback we would like to have feedback on all direct access public access cases that we work on.
If we have worked for you previously and you would like to download and complete the following feedback form, please do so and email your completed form to Chambers.
If you wish to find out if your case is suitable then please complete the Direct Access form below alternatively please download this form, print and return by post or email.