Members of the public are able to instruct a barrister to act on their behalf in a legal dispute and/or to provide legal advice without the need to go through an intermediary such as a solicitor. The main advantage of the Public Access scheme is that it could potentially save you money since you would only be paying for a barrister and not a barrister and solicitor.
Linenhall Chambers have a number of barristers who are qualified to accept instructions on a Public Access basis. Each case is unique; once you have contacted us with brief details of your case we will be able to advise you if your case is suitable to be undertaken on a direct basis. If the case is not suitable for Public Access you may find that we refer you to an appropriate solicitor who will be able to handle your matter.
Should your case be suitable for one of our accredited Public Access barristers to undertake they will be able to:
- Provide you with expert legal advice
- Advise you on suitable experts and assist you with drafting instructions to that expert
- Draft formal Court documents
- Assist you with drafting correspondence and review incoming correspondence
- Assist with drafting statement from litigants and witnesses
- Offer advice on the next steps in proceedings for you to take
- Appear for you in court
There are certain things that a Public Access barrister is not authorised to do. They cannot:
- Issue Court documents on your behalf
- Contact witnesses or collect / investigate evidence
- Instruct an expert witness on your behalf
- Correspond with the other side on your behalf
Although with all of the above, advice can be provided on how you should carry out these tasks yourself or we will suggest other legal professionals who will be able to carry out these tasks on your behalf.
If you want your case to be funded by legal aid, a barrister has to advise you to approach a solicitor as a barrister cannot apply to the Legal Aid Agency on your behalf.
Full guidance provided by the Bar Standards Board as to how the Public Access scheme works can be found here:
Areas of work our Public Access barristers carry out include:
- Criminal (privately paid)
- Road Traffic Offences
- Professional negligence
- Personal injury
- Property and Planning
- Court Martials
To start with you will need to provide us with some basic information so that we can assess whether we can undertake your matter. To do that please complete and submit the enquiry form here.
We will then let you know whether we can accept instructions, which barrister we suggest, or whether we need further information or papers before we can do so. We are required to undertake identity checks for all Public Access clients and we will provide you with details of the information that we will need.
We will send you a Terms of Engagement letter, a copy of which you must sign and return to us. In addition we will provide you with an estimate of the barrister’s fee and once this is agreed with you will need to pay the fee in advance of any work being undertaken.
A clear pricing structure will be provided to you. The cost of the work will depend on the volume of the documents, the types of tasks your barrister will need to carry out such as drafting papers, providing advice or attendance at Court and length of the hearing(s). This will also depend on the location and complexity of your case, the seniority of the instructed barrister and any additional research which may need to be undertaken.
We may quote a fixed fee for a specific piece of work such as a court hearing, or we may quote an hourly rate for the time to be spent on completing a piece of work for you, in which case we will provide an estimate of the likely total fee that will be charged.
If it becomes apparent during your case that more or less work than initially anticipated will be required, and the fee is likely to change, this will be discussed with you immediately.
Alternatively, if you have a set budget ad with clear instructions as to your requirements we will offer the work to a suitable barrister and invite them to undertake the work for the fee proposed.
Once the fees are agreed we will take payment before the work is undertaken.
Each of our Public Access barristers has to adhere strictly to the Bar Code of Conduct and the requirements of the Bar Standards Board. If, at any time, they consider that a solicitor should be instructed in your own interests or for any other professional reason, you will advised of this as soon as practicable and they will help you to find a suitable solicitor to handle your case.
Confidentiality: Your barrister will be under a strict professional duty to keep your affairs confidential and legal professional privilege protects your communications with your barrister from disclosure. The only exception is that any lawyer may be required by law to disclose information to governmental or other regulatory authorities and to do so without first obtaining your consent to such disclosure or telling you that that have made it.