Public Access

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Chambers & Partners 2021

Public Access (also known as Direct Access) means that anyone can go directly to a barrister, for advice and/or representation, without being reliant on, or paying for a solicitor. It enables those who feel able to conduct a lot of the litigation themselves to have complete control of their case.

Under the Public Access scheme, the barrister’s role remains essentially the same as when they are instructed by a solicitor. The barrister can advise you on your legal status or rights. The barrister can draft documents for you and can represent you in court, tribunals, or mediations. The barrister can also negotiate on your behalf and can attend hearings where appropriate.

That said, because the barrister’s role is unchanged (and there are limits on the types of work that a barrister can do) there are still some cases and situations in which you will need to instruct a solicitor as well as a barrister. However, for many cases the Public Access scheme allows you to go directly to the expert barrister for advice, representation and drafting.

If instructed by the Public Access scheme, a barrister can:

  • Provide legal advice and opinions
  • Draft legal documents
  • Assist you to draft letters and other documents during the case
  • Represent you in court

Once counsel has had the opportunity to consider your instruction, a client care letter will be prepared: this sets out the barrister’s terms & conditions, the fee that will be charged and the timescale in which the work will be completed. VAT is calculated separately to the fee and this will be clearly identified to you.

To proceed, you need to sign the letter, return it to the barrister and make payment in accordance with the Terms that you have agreed. Once signed, the client care letter constitutes the agreement between you and the barrister for the legal services to be provided.

There are several activities in which a barrister may not engage. Some examples of these are:

  • Issuing proceedings
  • Accept Legal Aid matters
  • Contacting witnesses and collecting evidence
  • Instructing an expert witness
  • Corresponding with the other side (although assistance can be given with drafting letters)

If counsel considers that your matter is unsuitable for Public Access, then one of the clerks will assist you in identifying an appropriate solicitor.


As explained, fees are calculated by reference to the barrister’s hourly rate which will reflect their seniority and the complexity of your case.

In a case where the value of the assets do not exceed £500,000 the approximate fee for a barrister of 7-10 years’ call will be in the range of:

Written Advice

£1,500 to £2,000

Drafting statement

£1,250 to £1,750

Advising in conference

£1,500 to £2,000

First appointment

£2,500 to £3,000

Financial Dispute Resolution

£3,500 to £4,500

This information is correct as at 1/12/20 and the above fees are indicative only.  All fees are agreed with you and paid for in advance of the work being done.

The Bar Council maintains a list of barristers that are trained for direct access. Click here for the Bar Council website.

Use this form to enquire about Public Access

Use this form to enquire about instructing a barrister directly rather than through a solicitor. (* Indicates a mandatory field).

    Preferred method of contact



    What assistance do you require?


    Have you been advised either by Solicitors or a Barrister?

    Do you already have a particular barrister in mind or would you like our guidance?

    Upon receipt contact will be made within 2 working days. Please note there are limitations on the types of service that can be provided under Public Access. All matters will be decided on a case by case basis.


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