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.