Corporate and non-corporate organisations and members of the public, are now able in suitable cases, to instruct counsel directly for legal advice and representation without the need to do so through a solicitor or other intermediary.
The amendment to the Bar Council Code of Conduct, permits barristers in self-employed practice, to undertake work on direct instructions from lay clients, without the need for a solicitor or other professional client to be instructed. Many members of these Chambers are now trained to be instructed in such cases.
Barristers can draft documents, appear in courts, tribunals or inquiries on their client’s behalf and give legal advice. However, barristers are not permitted, even in cases involving direct instruction, to issue proceedings on their client’s behalf, instruct an expert witness or handle the client’s money.
Importantly, and to ensure certainty and clarity, Counsel will advise you whether it is in your interests or in the interests of justice, that a solicitor is instructed on your behalf. That is an ongoing duty.
There are real advantages to the direct professional access scheme, one being cost savings. In financial times such as these, importantly, this scheme allows for the provision of specialist expert, professional advice and advocacy directly from counsel, with the cost saving in removing the fees that would otherwise have been incurred by the instruction of a solicitor.
Counsel cannot be instructed under this scheme, where your case could be eligible for public funding.
For more information please contact our clerks on 0207 400 1800.
For guidance issued by the Bar Council please see this guide