Legal services provided under the Public Access Rules (also known as direct access). Members of the public and businesses may now instruct these barristers directly and without the intervention of a solicitor.
Key bodies and directories
Direct Access Portal (DAP) is the official Bar Council portal with the definitive, up to date list of qualified collaborating Direct Access barristers. The site also includes Mediators and Arbitrators. The site is free for consumers to use and there is no log-in or subscription involved. The advanced search facility includes over 80 specalisms as well as the broad categories of civil, criminal, family and international. You can include the barrister’s location or geographic area in the search as well, and also the specific dates for which assistance is needed (if known).
See the article on this by Stephen Crowne, Chief Executive of the Bar Council at the time, in the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, November/December 2015, here.
Public Access Bar Association (PABA) represents the interests of the several thousand English and Welsh Barristers who offer direct legal services to the public and the business community in cases where the use of a Solicitor is no longer necessary. They hold events and seminars, provide a newsletter for members, and represent them. They have recently provided detailed responses to two BSB Consultations relating to public access work.
The Barristers Register is provided by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). As it says on the site “The Register is an online database which displays details of all barristers who are authorised to practise in England and Wales and who have a current practising certificate. The register will display the dates for which a barrister’s practising certificate is valid. It includes information about barristers’ practising status, their practising address, the reserved legal activities they are authorised to undertake and whether they have been the subject of any disciplinary findings which are published on our website in accordance with our current policy.” Note that this register is not just a Public Access Bar register, it is a register of all barristers. You cannot search to *find* a Public Access Barrister but you can check that any particular barrister is “Registered to undertake public access”.
Clerksroom was formed in 2001 as one of the first chambers to set up as a “virtual chambers” with most barristers working remotely and a very active and innovative use of IT. Staff work from a purpose built 6,000 sq ft HQ in Taunton managing over 4,000 requests for barristers’ help every month and with services available 24/7. Mediation clerks have developed the service into one of the largest in the UK and they are probably the largest provider of public access barristers through the Clerksroom Direct portal (continue with the next entry).
Clerksroom Direct provides access to 1,000 barristers from more than 211 barrister chambers. The client registers on the system (no fee is needed at that point) and then has oportunities to select a barrister by legal area, level of experience and fee offered. In most cases, a free half hour consultation is also available. BSB Public Access rules have been automated to include online client ID checks through to a secure payment system. Overall, the system provides a secure online enquiry, quote, tender, case management, document management and payment system for clients and barristers to engage with each other. A key point for barristers is that they do not have to deal with administrative issues like money laundering regulations, POCA rules, quoting fees, taking pre-payment and client care obligations. Barristers do not pay any fees to promote themselves through the Clerksroom Direct portal. Obtaining a fee quote from a Barrister is completely free and the user only pays for the service if they proceed to instruct the Barrister directly.
Havers find-a-barrister search engine provides a searching process to more than 11,000 barristers by their expertise/town/junior or QC or simply by their name or set of Chambers. The search engine is free to use. Barristers can also be searched under a category of “Accepts Public Access work”. Havers work in collaboration with most major publishers to provide links from their directory to case reports and other information on the publishers’ web sites. Barristers have to pay a subscription for this enhanced facility but their basic contact details are provided for free.
myBarrister is an online directory that enables people and businesses to locate the specialised skills they need, helping them resolve legal issues, defend against prosecution, take legal action or simply providing specialist legal advice on a particular situation. myBarrister is the idea of, and is funded by, Ronald DeKoven of 8 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn. The client uses the search process to find the barrister they want, or can ask for assistance from myBarrister staff. Further phone calls are made through the myBarrister system until the barrister is chosen after which myBarrister has no further role in the process.
Chambers providing public access
Barristers Direct is a group within 4 King’s Bench Walk which focuses on the work which barristers can do without instructing a solicitor. Head of Chambers Timothy Raggatt QC says that Members of his Chambers have been amongst the first at the Bar to train for and to accept public access instructions. There is extensive information about Direct Access (who work can be taken on, and what cannot) on the site.
Becket Chambers is a common law Barristers set covering courts throughout Kent, Sussex and the South East. Primarily based in Canterbury, Chambers has annexes in Dartford, Eastbourne, Kings Hill and Tunbridge Wells. Chambers specialises in all types of Family and Civil law, including Property, Wills & Probate, Landlord & Tenant, and Local Authority work. Becket Chambers receives instructions both from the legal profession, and also provides Direct2Barrister from members of the public.
Bright Line Law is a “barrister law firm” led by Jonathan Fisher QC, one of the UK’s leading barristers in white collar crime cases (Financial Crime, Financial Services, Fraud, Proceeds of Crime, Tax issues). They provide specialist advisory, advocacy, litigation, policy and strategic services. Bright Line Law’s legal services are available on a Public Access basis and the business is authorised by the Bar Standards Board to conduct litigation on behalf of clients.
12CP Barristers is part of 12 College Place Chambers, Southampton, the largest independent set in Central Southern England. Now, under the new designation, many of the barristers are also able to accept Direct Access instructions. They can advise on Civil Law, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Family Law and Planning Law.
Foregate Chambers (Barrister Clerking) provides Counsel for Courts and Tribunals countrywide as their Barristers are based throughout the UK. They cover all areas of law and also undertake Opinions, Advices and Specialised drafting (eg, Ts & Cs, Joint Venture and Finance). Most Counsel accept instructions via Public Access and some are trained Mediators. They offer a friendly, reliable, efficient and cost-effective service in advocacy, negotiation and client care for both professional and lay clients.
Kings View chambers was founded in 2014 by Stephen McCaffrey and Catherine Stock, both previously Deputy Heads of other sets. They aim to maintain their commitment to legal aid and other traditional sources of work whilst embracing opportunities to work directly with the public through direct public access.
lawhow is a group of barristers from Cobden House Chambers in Manchester. They specialise in family work, including children cases, divorce, financial and cohabitee cases. They are able to provide advice and advocacy nationwide. There are full details of the participating barristers on the site.
New Court Chambers is a specialist family chambers with a long standing and well established reputation in acting for local authorities, parents, other family members and children in all aspects of public law childcare work. With 19 members on its Public Access Panel it offers a comprehensive expertise in matrimonial finance, children and court of protection work.
New Walk Chambers is a well established set of Barristers’ Chambers in Leicester. A large part of their work is now Direct Public Access. They have traditional and well supported areas of practice in all centres throughout the Circuit. Individual members specialise in commercial and chancery, criminal law, employment and discrimination law, family law both private and public, personal injury and clinical negligence, immigration, drink driving and speeding offences, licensing, Courts Martial and general common law.
NoVate Direct Legal Solutions is a not for profit referral company which refers cases to specialist lawyers at no cost to the client. The company is supported by No5 Chambers, one of the largest sets of barristers chambers in the UK housing over 240 specialist barristers including 29 Queen’s Counsel. Your case will be reviewed by a barrister and where appropriate an initial conference of 30 minutes will be provided free of charge. If the case requires a solicitor, they can recommend a legal expert to suit your needs and budget, whether you are an individual or a company.
Park Chambers, based in Weybridge, Surrey, are Erich Suter’s specialist employment law and mediation chambers. As well as accepting instructions through solicitors in the normal way, they accept Direct Public Access instructions from companies and the public in all areas of employment law including unfair dismissal, equal pay, all types of discrimination, transfer of undertakings, contract cases and redundancies as well as accepting Public Access instructions for commercial, employment and workplace mediations.
Richmond Chambers Immigration Barristers is a multi-award winning innovative partnership of specialist immigration barristers. Based in the heart of Covent Garden, their immigration barristers provide expert legal advice and representation, directly to individuals and businesses, in relation to all aspects of UK immigration law. They combine the expertise and quality of the Bar, with the service levels of a trusted law firm. Their Knowledge Centre (available in English, Russian, Chinese and Arabic) has a lot of free and useful information on immigration law issues facing both individuals and businesses. They publish several new articles every week, including how-to guides, FAQs, updates on changes in the rules and case-law updates. The articles cover all areas of immigration law and are accessible via a searchable database.
Queen Square Chambers welcomes the opportunity to work directly with the public in many areas of law. Barristers can assist with Employment, Family, Property and Contract matters as well as with Motoring and Health & Safety offences. The clerks can provide more information.
St Pauls Chambers has been offering their services under the Public Access Scheme for 10 years. With 28 of its members and 3 of its clerks accredited to handle Public Access clients, they aim to provide alternative solutions to businesses and individuals seeking to resolve legal issues. The clerks who form the first point of contact are adept at knowing what will serve to be in the best interests of the client. If the client is better suited to find a more local representative or indeed needs guidance on firms of solicitors, the clerks will provide this advice and spend time discussing these options with the client. For those cases that are deemed suitable under the Public Access Scheme, clients can be assured of first class service and support.
Other organisations providing public access
CityGate Chambers Ltd is a BSB regulated entity which is owned and managed by Stephen Hines, who was called to the Bar in 2014 having qualified as a solicitor in 2009. The firm provides traditional litigation and advocacy services to insurers, organisations and individuals to help them resolve a claim as efficiently as possible. This includes advocacy, drafting and advising (in person and by telephone).
Hames Private Clients Ltd is a legal services firm set up by barrister Tim Wallis who is qualified to offer Direct Access legal services. The firm offers a competitive but still bespoke service with clarity from the outset as to costs and fixed fees wherever possible.
Riverview Barristers consists of 44 barristers including some of the UK’s leading QCs, who provide a Barrister-led service on a fixed fee basis under the Riverview Law brand, working alongside Riverview Law. They are based in London and offer business law representation and advice with some additional high end consumer legal services such as divorce. Riverview Law also provides a variety of fixed price annual legal packages for companies as well as legal outsourcing services for major corporations. An extra feature of Riverview Law is free access to an online Legal Library with over 650 plain English advice pages and over 450 documents, letters and templates.
Stobart Barristers is a commercial organisation (part of the Stobart Group) designed to help individuals and businesses to find the right Public Access barrister. They have a national panel of barristers and QCs and they direct the case to a barrister with the appropriate specialisation. It says, on the part of the site designed for personal legal problems “You pay a fixed fee up front (which could be just a few hundred pounds) and receive a written, expert barrister’s opinion on the merits of your case and how you should proceed within 7 days. If you decide to carry on with your case, your barrister will continue to work with you direct, advising on procedures and paperwork and appearing for you in court, as usual. Again, the cost of this will be fixed before you start. While the case is continuing, Stobart Barristers’ support services deal with court paperwork and correspondence for you and for your barrister.” They also deal with corporate legal matters.
Individual barristers providing public access
Religion Law is a major resource in its own right, coming from Neil Addison. If you take the Services link, you will see that he provides direct public access advice and drafting services to members of the public or businesses involved in Harassment, Bullying or Discrimination cases as well as Mediation and Arbitration.
Tahir Ashraf is a London and Manchester based barrister. He advises businesses and individuals across the UK in Business Chancery Commercial and Insolvency Law disputes. He practices from barristers chambers 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, London and is also available as a Direct Access Barrister.
Jeremy Barnett of St Pauls Chambers, is experienced in managing cases under the Public Access Scheme, focussing mainly on Regulatory and Professional Discipline. With a growing number of investigations by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA), Jeremy has carved a reputation for successfully defending and advising solicitors. He is also well known for defending clients against the Trading Standards Authority and the Health and Safety Executive. There is a blog on the site providing up to date insights into emerging trends across the various sectors.
Marc Beaumont, of Windsor Chambers, offers Barrister services in advocacy and dispute resolution in the High Court, the County Courts and superior Appellate Courts, (the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the Privy Council), before professional disciplinary tribunals and in Arbitration and Mediation. Marc is also an experienced, accredited Mediator. In the USA, as from 1st February 2013 , Marc will offer a service as a foreign legal consultant at the New York Bar, specialising in English commercial law, Arbitration and Mediation. The site offers a useful selection of legal resources covering courts and resources inthe UK, the USA, Europe and elsewhere.
Ros Scott Bell, of Trinity Chambers, is a Specialist Regulatory barrister regularly prosecuting and defending cases involving Health and Safety, Professional Discipline/Misconduct/Fitness to Practise, Trading Standards and Environmental Protection. Ros has a background in criminal law and is a Grade 4 CPS Prosecutor. She is a Legal Assessor to the Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service. Ros is also a List B Advocate in Health and Safety and Environmental Law, frequently prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and Local Authorities.
Ashley James Barnes specialises in private client road traffic law, receiving instructions to conduct matters in Magistrates’ and Crown Courts nationwide. Ashley can assist with speeding offences, alcohol offences, insurance offences, mobile phone use, a traffic light offence, failing to stop, failing to provide information, careless driving or any other motoring law offence.
Montclare Campbell is a first class honours graduate and fully qualified UK Barrister practising from Clerksroom Chambers. He provides advice and advocacy services in Immigration matters and also other areas of law. He operates UK Wide subject to terms.
Rebecca Fairbairn, of One Paper Buildings, is a Criminal & Family Law Barrister in London. Her record in Family cases covers the entire practice area from the Family Proceedings Court to the High Court and has included representing parties in situations of family breakdown, matters under the Children Act and dealing with international child abduction. Her experience in Criminal law covers both prosecution and defence work and includes cases of murder, robbery, drugs importation and fraud.
Quentin Hunt is a skilled, experienced and tenacious criminal defence barrister. He is known as a road traffic and fraud crime legal expert possessing fearless legal expertise and loophole mastery. He operates from 2 Bedford Row Chambers.
See his Newsletter feature – Private prosecution can be a viable alternative
Stephen Innes is a commercial barrister at 4 New Square in London, specialising in costs and professional negligence. Much of Stephen’s direct access work consists in advising clients who feel let down by their former lawyers and wish to investigate a challenge to their legal fees and/or potential negligence claims. He offers a free 30 minute meeting or telephone discussion to explore how he can help.
Cyrus Katrak is specialist regulatory law Barrister who accepts direct instructions from healthcare professionals such as doctors, dentists and dental technicians in order to assist them in disciplinary matters before their regulatory bodies. He is happy to provide a complimentary 15 minute preliminary chat by phone or Skype.
Mark Kelly is a defence barrister with over 30 years of experience in criminal and regulatory defence, particularly in respect of fraud, sexual offences, market abuse and money laundering. He has extensive experience in both domestic and international work.
Ian Mason has over thirty years experience as a practising barrister and practises general common law with specialist expertise in housing, landlord and tenant and property law. He advises and helps small businesses with contractual disputes and debt collection and enforcement matters as well as dealing with neighbour and boundary disputes, disrepair and unlawful evictions.
Stuart McGee is an expert in divorce advice. He is a member of Pump Court Chambers.
David Osborne is located near Taunton in Somerset. He has been in private practice for over 35 years, and has considerable experience in the fields of crime, family and matrimonial, general common law, contract, landlord and tenant, inquests, personal injury and road traffic accidents. His practice is now almost exclusively Public Access work.
Richard O’Sullivan is a Barrister, Mediator and Arbitrator Practicing in the full range of Civil Law including Construction, Property (Commercial and Residential) and Planning. He is available for direct access or solicitor instruction.
Stewart Patterson is a barrister with great experience in contractual disputes, builder problems, arbitration, mediation and criminal representation. He is a member of Pump Court Chambers.
Heather Platt is specialist in employment and discrimination law. She is a member of Pump Court Chambers and Riverview Chambers.
Charles Price has been an employment law Barrister since 1999. He has extensive experience in unfair dismissal, redundancy, contracts of employment, pregnancy related dismissal, constructive dismissal, minimum wage claims, compromise agreements, post termination covenants, holiday pay disputes, parental leave, deductions from wages, variation of contractual terms, whistleblowing, business transfer, harassment and breach of contract claims. He advises both claimants and employers and offers a free initial consultation.
Andrew Thompson is a specialist road traffic barrister with extensive experience of defending motoring cases. He will provide a free initial opinion on the merits of your case.
John Thornton practices from Stour Chambers in Canterbury. He is a barrister with over 11 year’s experience representing all parties in family, criminal and some civil law proceedings. He provides a number of templates and guides on the site with free information and general guidance on court procedure on divorce and children act proceedings. There are also templates, forms and links to sites of interest. The templates are writable straight from the web and can be used as a pro-forma for position statements and witness statements in court proceedings.
Anthony Vines practises from Civitas Law as a barrister and mediator. Called to the Bar in 1993, Anthony has maintained a broad practice covering civil, criminal and regulatory work although his principal areas of practice are employment law, business disputes and regulatory law. He is said to be “very approachable and gives excellent advice”.
Oliver White is an experienced and highly sought after Commercial Barrister practising from 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square Chambers, a leading Commercial and Public Law set of Chambers. He is regularly instructed in some of the leading Commercial disputes and is widely acknowledged to be a “savvy and aggressive’ litigator who is known to fight his client’s cause without distraction”.