Members of the public and members of professional institutions are able to obtain a barrister's services directly.
Since 2004, the public access scheme has enabled members of the public and businesses to instruct a barrister directly without having to use a solicitor or other third party to instruct on their behalf.
Not all barristers can accept instructions this way, but at Guildhall Chambers we have a number of barristers, across many specialisations licensed to accept instructions directly.
Click here for the Bar Standards Board Public Access Guidance for Lay Clients.
Not all cases are suitable for public access instructions. Our barristers are not authorised to conduct litigation on your behalf which means that you need to be confident that you can undertake the administrative tasks associated with managing a case this includes:
If your case is complex, or if you are in any doubt that you can manage these elements of your case yourself, we would recommend that you engage the services of a solicitor.
Public access is not suitable for work that is publicly funded. To find out if you are eligible for public funding (sometimes referred to as legal aid) please click here.
Similarly, we will not undertake 'no win, no fee' arrangements for public access work.
The cost will vary depending upon what you are instructing a barrister to do for you, the complexity and nature of your case and the seniority of counsel. We have a dedicated, experienced team of clerks that will be your first point of contact with Guildhall Chambers.
Once papers and clear instructions have been received, a clerk will contact you with a proposed fee and timescale for completing the work assuming that is agreed, they will send you a letter of engagement that sets out our terms and conditions, confirms the quote and requires your counter-signature. Fees are then to be paid in advance of the work being undertaken. No fees are payable until that quote has been given, accepted and that letter of engagement signed.
This has become less obvious in recent years, but typically barristers specialise in providing expert legal advice, drafting documents and advocacy in court.
You can instruct a barrister to:
Unless authorised to conduct litigation, unlike solicitors, our barristers cannot:
Following receipt, one of the clerks will contact you, either by telephone or by email.
The clerks will run through your enquiry form and advise you of your best options, if public access is right for your circumstances, you will be asked to send the barrister more detailed information about your case so that they can review your instructions and provide a quote for the work required.
For the guidance notes please click here.
In some circumstances, a barrister will be required by law to carry out identification procedures. Whether these procedures apply will be considered by the barrister following your initial contact. If it does apply, the barrister will require proof of your identity i.e. proof of your name, date of birth and current address. If you are acting on behalf of a company, you will be required to produce a certified copy of Certificate of Incorporation, the latest accounts filed at Companies House and evidence that you are authorised to act on behalf of that company.
If you are not satisfied with the service of your barrister or Guildhall Chambers, you should first refer the matter to chambers in line with the chambers complaints procedure. If you would like a copy of the complaints procedure, please contact email@example.com.
If you are not happy with the barrister's or Chambers' reply then you can contact the Legal Ombudsman (as long as you complain to the Legal Ombudsman within 12 months of discovering that there was a problem).
The contact details are as follows:
Office of the Legal Ombudsman
Phone: 0161 839 7262
Lo-call no: 0845 601 0794 (charged at local rates - available nationally)
Alternatively you can contact the Bar Council online.
Please see the guidance in our transparency document available here, for further information including on the fees payable when a barrister is instructed on a direct access basis.
Further information sheets are provided here in relation to direct access work concerning: