Traditionally barristers had two roles: First, to represent clients at court; second, to provide specialist advice in cases of particular complexity.
How does that differ from a Solicitor?
Typically a solicitor will deal with the day-to-day management of a case – filling in court forms, corresponding with other parties, drafting witness statements.
What is Direct Access?
Until quite recently it was not possible for members of the public to contact barristers directly. They had to go through a solicitor instead. Barristers, in other words, offered a "referral" service – solicitors would refer a client to a barrister in the same way that a GP might refer a patient to a consultant.
It’s easy. If you would like some advice from a barrister, or if you want a barrister to draft a legal document for you or appear on your behalf in court, you can simply contact them direct. Then it’s just a question of working out what work needs to be done and agreeing a fee.
Why should I approach a Barrister direct?
In a word, cost. When you insruct a barrister they will only do the work you’ve asked them to do and for the fee you agreed. You won’t have an unpleasant suprise at the end of the case when the solicitor’s bill arrives. All fees for a barrister are agreed and paid upfront. If you want to save some money by dealing with some aspects of the case yourself, filling in court forms or corresponding with the other parties say, so much the better. You’ll save money that way.
What are the drawbacks of going direct to a Barrister?
There are some things that a solicitor can do but a barrister can’t. For example, barristers can’t issue proceedings for you. That is, send your claim to the court with the necessary fee, or intsruct expert witnesses. If you want a lawyer to deal with every detail of your case, then you should probably approach a solicitor. If on the other hand you feel able to do some of the more straightforward tasks yourself, and you want to keep your costs to a minimum, then you should think about using a barrister.
You don’t need a solicitor to instruct me. I am available through the Direct Access Scheme.