5 Essex Court

Public Access

  • What is Direct Access?

    The Direct Public Access scheme introduced in 2004 enables barristers to be instructed directly from or on behalf of a member of the public, also known as a lay client. Prior to 2004, it was necessary to instruct a firm of solicitors or third party. Many of our barristers are qualified to accept Direct Access instructions.

    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.

  • Who can use Direct Access?

    Any lay client - whether a business owner, director, consultant or employee - can potentially use Direct Access.

  • What types of Direct Access cases can our barristers accept?

    Our barristers are recognised as exceptional lawyers and skilled advocates. They are all also very approachable and expert at giving clear and practical advice which is particularly important when dealing with a lay client.

    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.

    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.

  • 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 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. You will be provided with an estimate of the time and fees that are likely to be charged and kept updated at all times so that there are no surprises. Generally barristers have lower overheads than solicitors so our barrister fees are very competitive.

    Saves time/more efficient: 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.

  • How do you choose a Direct Access barrister?

    We have a number of barristers who are qualified to accept Direct Access instructions. They are: Charles Apthorp, Richard Oulton, Melvyn Harris, Victoria von Wachter, Daniel Hobbs, Claire Palmer, Beatrice Collier, Mark ThomasAlex Ustych, Robert Cohen and Aaron Moss.

    Our friendly and experienced team of clerks will assist you in choosing the right barrister for your case in terms of appropriate seniority and expertise. 

  • What is the first step in assessing your case?

    To help us assess the suitability of your case for Direct Access, please complete the form below. If you have any queries, contact our clerking team.

  • Public access fees

    Barristers in chambers undertaking public access work charge a combination of brief frees and hourly rates.

    Brief fee and refresher

    A brief fee is a fixed fee which covers preparation for a trial and the first day. A refresher is a fixed fee for each subsequent day of the trial (which includes ongoing preparation).

    Capped fee

    A legal services provider will charge an amount of money per hour (an hourly rate), but agree with the client that the total amount will not be more than a set level.

    Conditional fee agreement

    A client will only pay a legal services provider for work if they receive compensation as a result of the proceedings. Conditional fee agreements are popular with consumers and often referred to as “no win, no fee” agreements.

    Fixed fee

    A legal services provider will charge a client a set amount of money for work. Consumers often prefer fixed fees, as they remove the anxiety of not knowing how long the work might take and therefore the cost. However, by charging on a fixed fee basis the provider will be taking on the risk that the work may take longer than expected, and so may charge more to compensate for this. There may also be circumstances where additional fees are charged, and it is important for the provider to be clear about this.

    Hourly rate

    The amount of money that a legal services provider charges a client per hour. The setting of hourly rates is not necessarily straightforward, and a number of factors may determine the rate that the provider chooses to set; for example, seniority, type of client and whether the provider is trying to build business in a new area.

    Range of fixed fees (estimates) (excluding VAT)

    Stage of case

    Over 15 years

    Over 7 years

    Under 7 years

    Written advice on your claim

    £1,000 - £1,750

    £750 - £1,250

    £625 - £875

    Preparation of case, including conferences with you and assistance with drafting of any documents.

    £3,200 - £16,450

    £2,400 - £11,750

    £2,000 - £8,225

    Preliminary hearing

    £1,000 - £1,750

    £750 - £1,250

    £625 - £875

    First day’s court appearance

    £2,000 - £3,500

    £1,500 - £2,500

    £1,250 - £1,750

    Court appearances per day, after the first day

    £2,000 - £3,500

    £1,500 - £2,500

    £1,250 - £1,750

    Remedy hearing (to decide compensation)

    £4,000 - £7,500

    £3,000 - £5,000

    £2,500 - £3,500

    Barristers will also charge reasonable travel expenses. Hotel expenses are typically up to £150 per night. Travel expenses are typically up to £250 for each journey to court.

    Contact Us

    All information is correct as of November 2019, but fees are estimates only. For the most accurate fixed fee estimate, please contact the clerks on clerks@5essexcourt.co.uk 

    Public Access – Employment Tribunal

    Our barristers can advise both employees and employers on unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims. Our barristers can also represent both employees and employers at the Employment Tribunal.

    Timescales

    Timescales for your case may vary depending on factors such as barristers’ availability, the complexity of your case, the need for additional documents and the other side’s approach. However, as a guide more straightforward cases tend to have a hearing date four to six months of a claim being made.

    Fees

    We charge fixed fees, which means that we will charge you a set amount of money for the work. Below we provide estimates based on the ranges of fixed fees for barristers in 5 Essex Court. All fees include VAT (where applicable).

    Your fixed fees may vary depending on your needs – for example, your fees may be towards the higher end of the range if you need a more experienced barrister and/or you have a more complex case. If you have a particularly complex case, your fees may also be higher than the estimates below.

    Range of fixed fees (estimates) (excluding VAT)

    Stage of case

    Over 15 years

    Over 7 years

    Under 7 years

    Written advice on your claim

    £1,000 - £1,750

    £750 - £1,250

    £625 - £875

    Preparation of case, including conferences with you and assistance with drafting of any tribunal documents

    £3,200 - £16,450

    £2,400 - £11,750

    £2,000 - £8,225

    Preliminary hearing

    £1,000 - £1,750

    £750 - £1,250

    £625 - £875

    First day’s tribunal appearance

    £2,000 - £3,500

    £1,500 - £2,500

    £1,250 - £1,750

    Tribunal appearances per day, after the first day

    £2,000 - £3,500

    £1,500 - £2,500

    £1,250 - £1,750

    Remedy hearing (to decide compensation)

    £4,000 - £7,500

    £3,000 - £5,000

    £2,500 - £3,500

    Contact Us

    All information is correct as of November 2019, but fees are estimates only. For the most accurate fixed fee estimate, please contact the clerks on clerks@5essexcourt.co.uk