Direct Public Access

What is Direct Access?

Since 2004 the Direct Public Access scheme (“Direct Access”) enables barristers to be instructed directly from or on behalf of a member of the public also known as a lay client. In the past it was necessary to instruct a firm of solicitors or third party. Many of our barristers are qualified to accept Direct Access instructions.

Further information

The Bar Standards Board (“BSB”) regulates barristers and has produced guidance on the Public Access scheme for lay clients. You can access this guidance on the BSB website here.

Who is Direct Access suitable for?

Direct Access is potentially suitable for any lay client whether a business owner, director, consultant or employee.

What types of Direct Access cases can our barristers accept?

5 Essex Court is a leading set of barristers’ chambers with a strong reputation in civil and public law matters. Our members are exceptional lawyers and skilled advocates. Importantly, they are all approachable and skilled at giving clear and practical advice.

Direct Access is suitable for a variety of cases or legal disputes. For example advice on: employment rights following termination of a contract of employment; settlement agreements; professional disciplinary matters; commercial agreements and termination rights. Types of work that are suitable include advisory, drafting as well as representation at hearings. It is important to note that in general this does not cover conducting litigation e.g. issuing proceedings or filing court documents. Note also that our Direct Access qualified barristers are under a duty when considering your case to advise if it is in your best interests or in the interests of justice that you first instruct a solicitor.

Areas of law that our Direct Access barristers cover

  • Commercial disputes
  • Employment
  • Probate
  • Professional Discipline
  • Professional negligence
  • Regulatory Law

Choosing a Direct Access barrister

Members of our Chambers that accept Direct Access instructions are: Dijen Basu QC, Charles Apthorp, Richard Oulton, Melvyn Harris, Victoria von Wachter, Clare Harrington, Daniel Hobbs, Claire Palmer, Beatrice Collier, Mark Thomas and Alex Ustych.

Our approachable and experienced team of clerks will assist you in choosing the right barrister for your case in terms of appropriate seniority and expertise. Complete the form below or give them a call on 020 7410 2000 to discuss your case.

What are the advantages of Direct Access?

Practical – as the client you will have direct contact with your barrister

Control on costs – instructing a barrister directly may give you significant cost savings as you will only be instructing one lawyer rather than two which would have been the case if you used a solicitor as well.

Our team of clerks will advise you on how much the barrister’s fees will be and whether the fees will be charged on an hourly basis or for a fixed fee, if the former then you will be provided with an estimate of the time and fees that are likely to be charged. Generally barristers have lower overheads than solicitors so our barrister’ fees are competitive.

Saves time – rather than a two-step process of instructing a firm of solicitors and channelling your instructions through them it is quicker to directly instruct the barrister

What is the next step I should take?

To help us assess the suitability of your case for Direct Access kindly complete the form below. If you have any queries please give our clerking team a call on 020 7410 2000 or Email them at


If you are considering instructing a barrister through 5 Essex Court Direct, please fill out the below form.