Barristers have for a number of years been able to take instructions directly from clients, provided they have taken the appropriate training. This is known as direct access.
In a report by the Bar Council and Bar Standards Board, it is reported that one in five barristers plans to complete the new public access training, taking the total number of barristers who have carried it out, to be in the region of 7,500.
Direct access to barristers can be very useful for litigants in person who need some legal assistance during their case, for example conducting a hearing or trial.
Those conducting their own litigation should look at the scheme if they require assistance but do not need need full representation by a solicitor.
For example, people dealing with small claims may want to instruct a barrister to conduct the trial for them. The cost may not be recoverable but it might tip the trial in their favour and result in a win. Just because legal costs in small claims are generally irrecoverable it doesn’t mean that incurring those legal costs cannot benefit the outcome overall.
So Why Bother With Solicitors?
Solicitors still and always will fulfil a crucial role in the legal process. Countless disputes are resolved without the case getting anywhere near a barrister. When barristers do become involved, the preparation of the case and evidence by a solicitor is fundamental to the success of the presentation of the case by the barrister at any hearing or trial.