What is Direct Access?
The Direct Access (or Public Access) scheme allows members of the public to instruct an authorised barrister directly. The barrister’s role remains the same, meaning that they are qualified to:
- Provide you with expert legal advice about the merits and potential outcomes of your case;
- Assist you with drafting correspondence;
- Help to draft statements from litigants and witnesses;
- Draft formal court documents;
- Advise you on suitable experts and draft instructions to expert witnesses
- Offer you advice on the next steps to be taken in proceedings;
- Assist you in trying to resolve your case; and
- Represent you in court.
Most barristers who offer Direct Access, do not offer to conduct litigation. That means that the responsibility for the day to day management of your case will remain with you, the client.
It is important to note that not all cases are suitable for public access. Our clerks in consultation with a barrister will advise when it is in a clients' best interest to use a solicitor. The Public Access guidance for lay clients is available on The Bar Standards Board Website
Which Barrister to instruct?
The Clerks will be happy to assist clients by recommending the individual barrister that would be best suited to deal with a particular matter. All our barristers have profiles on Chambers' Website which can be downloaded and are routinely kept up-to-date. A barrister’s profile will say whether or not they are Direct Access Qualified.
The work undertaken by Members of Chambers ranges across the full spectrum of complexity, duration and our practice areas. Barristers are not able to undertake any publicly funded (‘legal aid’) work under the Direct Access scheme, nor can they carry out any means test for you. If you think that you may be eligible for public funding, you can check by completing the Legal Aid Eligibility Calculator.
If you are eligible for legal aid but prefer to instruct a barrister directly, you can do so on a privately funded basis
Fees for hearings are usually charged on the basis of a brief fee (to cover case preparation) and daily refreshers (to cover attendance at a hearing), although fixed fees can be agreed in appropriate cases..
Advice is commonly provided on a fixed fee basis but in certain cases an hourly rate may be appropriate. Similarly, in long running or ongoing instructions, work is commonly charged on the basis of fixed fees to reflect stages of case preparation or an hourly rate with a capped costs for specific elements of work
Every matter is different and the fee quoted will be dependant on a number of factors including complexity, the type of hearing, the volume of paperwork, the likely time scale, urgency and the seniority and experience of the barrister being instructed. This list is indicative and not exhaustive. Prices as such can vary greatly, from an hourly rate of £75 to £1000: there is however no upper or lower limit. Our fees are flexible and competitive, while reflecting our high standard of advice and service. The current rate of VAT will be added to all fees (unless exemptions apply).
As a consequence of the number of varying factors that can affect the fee, the fee structure for each piece of work is agreed individually. In every case, the quotation will clearly set out our proposed fees so that they can be readily understood. All fees are fully transparent. To that end, on occasions there will be additional costs such as travel, waiting and hotel expenses. Where such costs are likely these will be identified and discussed with the client at the quotation stage. Moreover sometimes, further additional costs may arise as a case progresses, for example because of the service of further evidence in a case which it increases its length and/or complexity. We will endeavour to ensure that within the quote and subsequent agreement for the provision of services between the barrister and client, provision is made for any such eventuality
No chargeable work will be commenced by a barrister until fees are agreed in writing and both the barrister and client are satisfied that the fee structure is understood. This will be set out fully in your Client Care Letter.
Members of Chambers are also willing to accept instructions from solicitors in cases where there is a public funding certificate. Given our principle practice areas we do not undertake conditional fee arrangements or similar.
The timescale for the provision of legal services may vary depending on factors such as barrister availability, the type and complexity of the case and the court's availiability to list a hearing. If the matter is time critical, it is important you make us aware at the outset of your enquiry as to any deadlines.
Chambers Complaints Policy
All Members of Chambers and our administrative staff are committed to providing an exceptionally high standard of service. Our Chambers complaint procedure and policy can be downloaded via clicking here.
Clients can complain to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) if they are unhappy with their final response to their complaint, or if their complaint has not been dealt with in eight weeks. The LeO can be reached at the following address: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806,, Wolverhampton,.WV1 9WJ. Telephone number: 0300 555 0333 . Email: email@example.com.
The Legal Ombudsman will generally look into your complaint if you are referring the complaint within six years of the problem happening or three years from when you found out about it (if it took place more than six years ago). You must also bring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving the final response.
More information about the Legal Ombudsman is available on their website here.
Details of the decisions made by the Legal Ombudsman can be found here. This decision data shows legal service providers who received an ombudsman’s decision in the previous 12 months and whether or not the consumer was required to give a remedy.
All barrister at Church Court Chambers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board. You can search all barristers that are registered on the Bar Standards Board’s website on the following link which will show whether or not they have a valid practicing certificate and whether or not any disciplinary findings have been made against them.