Until the more recent Government changes, it was always necessary for work to be referred to a barrister through a solicitor .  It is now possible for certain organisations, companies, firms or members of the public to come directly to a barrister for specialist advice and/or representation on a range of personal or business matters; where the investigation and management of the case can be conducted without a solicitor. . Depending on the individual Barristers training, recent rules provide that a Barrister can now act for you from the start of your case to the very end without the need for a solicitor, if the Barrister thinks the case is suitable for this procedure

No 18 accepts direct access instructions in all our practice areas where the case is suitable and we consider ourselves one of the region’s pioneers in this type of work. Though not every case is suitable especially where there is complex litigation which requires a team of people including a solicitor to investigate and manage the case.


The Benefits

Direct access offers business and individuals:

  • A specialist, cost effective and efficient service
  • Avoids duplication
  • Swift and effective route to legal advice and representation
  • Allows you to manage your case: both practically and financially

The Fees

Our fees will vary depending on the factors involved in each individual case such as, complexity or seniority of barrister.  Our clerks are always happy to provide a quote for the work at either an hourly rate or a fixed sum.  All fees will be agreed in advance so you the client have control over your expenditure.


How to Proceed

(1)    The first step is a telephone call to our experienced clerks: 02380 726 812 (Please note that our clerks are not legally qualified, although they have extensive knowledge of the legal system and they have undergone training in the operation of direct access).

(2)    The clerks will ask you to complete a short questionnaire (see below).

This will help us to establish whether your case is suitable for direct access and if so, which barrister is best able to help you with your case.  However, If you know the Barrister you wish to instruct already the clerking team will try to accommodate your request.

(3)    It is helpful to know from the outset, the basic information about your case, such as:

  • Who the dispute is with
  • A brief background of your case
  • Any relevant deadlines
  • What you want the Barrister to do  i.e representation or advice

Though some of the questions in the questionnaire may seem imposing please complete it in as much detail as possible as it will help us assign your matter correctly


What Happens Next?

Once your case has been assessed and the Barrister has agreed to take your case on a direct access basis, a client care letter will be sent.  This will form the contract between you and the Barrister setting out the terms and conditions together with the fees in advance.

The agreement is between you and the Barrister; it does not, unless otherwise indicated, cover anyone else.

As with all professionals we are required by our regulatory body to keep proper records of our clients and comply with statutory regulations. Information provided in the questionnaire will be kept strictly confidential and will never be released by us without your authority save for very exceptional reasons.


What Courts Do We Cover?

No18 Barristers Chambers is one of the longest established sets on the Western Circuit. We regularly attend courts in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Sussex, Thames Valley, London and further afield.  


The Rules

What we can do for you

This depends on whether the Barrister is authorised only for public access or authorised for public access and litigation

Barristers Authorised for public access and litigation

The Barrister can:-

  • Take on your case from start to finish, including advising you and representing you in court or elsewhere.  You can decide what the Barrister does for you, and what you do yourself.
  • Advise you or your business, either in conference or in writing
  • Draft the formal court documents (called 'pleadings') setting out your case
  • Draft the terms of formal letters such as notices of intended claims, instructions to experts and settlement offers
  • Advise you as to the evidence that you will likely need in your case
  • Represent you in the Courts and Tribunals
  • Attend formal meetings with you such as Joint Settlement Meetings and mediation
  • Engage in correspondence for you or on your firm’s behalf (although we may be able to assist you in drafting letters for you to send)
  • Take responsibility for the management of court proceedings and put himself on the court record as being able to accept formal notices for you and issue court proceedings for you Investigate your case and interview witnesses
  • Instruct experts directly

Barristers Authorised only for public access

The rules relating to direct access mean that we can:

  • Advise you or your business, either in conference or in writing
  • Draft the formal court documents (called 'pleadings') setting out your case
  • Draft the terms of formal letters such as notices of intended claims, instructions to experts and settlement offers
  • Advise you as to the evidence that you will likely need in your case
  • Represent you in the Courts and Tribunals
  • Attend formal meetings with you such as Joint Settlement Meetings and mediation

What we cannot do for you

We are not permitted to:

  • Engage in correspondence for you or on your firm’s behalf (although we may be able to assist  you in drafting letters for you to send)
  • Take responsibility for the management of court proceedings or put ourselves on the court record as being able to accept formal notices for you or issue court proceedings for you (although we can advise you as to how to do this yourself)
  • Investigate your case or interview witnesses (although we can advise you as to evidence that you will need to assemble and draft up statements from the material you have collected)
  • Hold client money
  • Instruct experts directly

NOT SURE IF YOU QUALIFY FOR LEGAL AID – please follow this link to the Legal Services commission Legal Aid calculator

 


Further Guidance

Further information with regards to the scheme can be found on the Bar Council Website.