Public Access

The Public Access scheme allows members of the general public and businesses to instruct a barrister directly without the need of a solicitor. A solicitor is not involved at any stage.  Although the barrister’s role remains essentially the same, members of the public may instruct a barrister directly through the public access scheme. While not every matter is suitable for public access work, in the right circumstances you can benefit from obtaining legal services directly from a barrister without the need to pay for an additional legal team, particularly if you have your own administrative resources available in-house.

Public Access is a particularly effective way to instruct a barrister on ‘straightforward’ matters such as in drafting contracts, licensing agreements, terms of business and joint ventures, advising on merits and the next steps in proceedings, drafting formal court documents and representing you at a court hearing or at a tribunal.

This PDF document produced by the Bar Council gives examples of where direct public access has successfully been used and highlights some of the benefits:  Bar Council- Public Access to the Bar

Under the Public Access rules a barrister is not allowed to do any of the following:

  • take conduct of litigation on a client’s behalf.
  • to take responsibility for the general management of a client’s case.
  • hold  client’s money on account. This means the barrister cannot make or arrange payment of court fees, expert’s fees or witnesses’ expenses.
  • issue proceedings, file documents at court or serve documents on other parties or sign statements of truth on the client’s behalf.
  • investigate a case or collect evidence.

The client will need to undertake these steps or have someone competent to undertake them. Your barrister will of course be able to advise you on the best way forward. We cannot accept instructions through the public access scheme for work funded by the Legal Services Commission.

If you would like to make an enquiry as to whether your case is suitable to be considered under the Public Access scheme do get in touch with us or complete the Enquiry Form and our clerking team will be in touch with you.

As the ‘cab rank’ rule does not apply to Public Access work, the barrister is not obliged to accept the instructions and has to consider whether it is appropriate to accept the instructions by public access. Your barrister is under a professional obligation to tell you if she thinks that your interests will be best served by instructing a solicitor.

If we decide to accept your case through the public access scheme you will be sent a client care letter/agreement with the full terms of engagement so that everything is clear at the outset.

If you wish to find out more about the Public Access Scheme, please refer to the Bar Council’s Guidance.

Do feel free to contact our Clerks for further assistance: