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Direct Access

Members of the general public can now, in many cases, instruct a specialist Barrister for legal advice and/or representation without first having to engage a Solicitor.

‘Direct Access’ (also referred to as ‘Public Access’) can allow clients to make significant financial savings on the traditional method of getting a Barrister.

New Court Chambers considers itself one of the pioneers in this kind of work and prides itself on offering its Direct Access Clients the highest possible quality service that is professional, cost effective and personalised to the individual needs of the client.

Full details of the Bar Council rules relating to Direct Access work can be found on the Bar Council website. Not every case is suitable for Direct Access but our clerks will be able to tell you if your’s could be. They will then be able to direct you to one of our Barristers who will be able to consider taking on your case.

In brief a ‘Direct Access’ Barrister can:

  • Represent a client in courts and tribunals
  • Provide specialist legal advice including a Second Opinion
  • Draft correspondence, statements and other such documents required by the Court
  • Advise on the use and instruction of experts in certain cases

The current rules prevent Barristers carrying out certain, largely administrative, tasks which the client will have to do themselves in the absence of a Solicitor. These tasks will be fully explained to you.

New Court Chambers has a large team of specialist family law Barristers and can offer a wide range of experience to suit each individual case. The cost will depend entirely on the seniority of the Barrister, the complexity of the case and the amount of work you instruct your Barrister to do – or you are able to do yourself. All fees need to be paid in advance before the Barrister is able to carry out the work you want him or her to do.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why might I go to a Barrister rather than a Solicitor?

Barristers are highly skilled lawyers who specialise in providing legal advice and advocacy in the Courts. They work day in, day out, in the courts and do not have the office distractions of a Solicitors’ firm to manage. They do their own work and your case will therefore be ‘owned’ by the Barrister rather than perhaps a Secretary or Paralegal. Even the very best Solicitors instruct Barristers to argue their cases before Judges, advise them on tactics and the law and draft the complex paperwork necessary to put before the Court. Using Direct Public Access means you will, almost certainly, only need to instruct the Barrister – the lawyer who will present your case in court – rather than a Solicitor as well.

Is my case suitable for Direct Public Access?

Not every case is suitable for Direct Public Access. For instance, Barristers cannot work for clients directly when they form the professional opinion that the client needs a Solicitor to help them prepare their case, handle their paperwork or manage their funds. Public Access Clients must be willing and able to carry out the routine administrative tasks that otherwise they would have to pay a Solicitor to do for them.

How will my Barrister work?

Barristers are not Solicitors and work in a different way. Barristers will expect to receive from you the paperwork in a good order and on time to enable them to prepare the case. They are not available to provide day-to-day advice and information on the state of the case. They will not ‘conduct’ your case. That will be your job. You will be paying your Barrister to provide you with expert legal advice and representation at court.

What can my Barrister do for me?

Because they are expert lawyers your Barrister will be able to give you the answers you want faster than might otherwise be the case. They will be able to tell whether your case may be won, may be lost or is worth fighting. They will be able to expertly draft the key documents in the case and negotiate with the other side’s lawyers. Their job will be to handle your case professionally and resolve your difficulty as quickly as possible with the minimum of fuss.

How do I instruct a Barrister?

The first step is to ring the Clerks at New Court or email them by clicking on ‘Contact Us’ above. Give them a brief summary of your case and the key information they will need to know to identify whether one of our Barristers can help you – the date of any court hearings, any deadlines you need to work towards, the key issues in the case. Just like a Solicitor does when they want to brief a Barrister. If they think your case may be suitable for Direct Public Access work they will pass the papers to a Barrister who may ring you for a free ‘no obligation’ chat. It will then be up to you whether you wish to make a formal ‘booking’ for a Conference, a written Advice or representation at any hearings. If you make a formal booking you and your Barrister will agree terms in a formal ‘Client Care Letter’. If you would like to see a Draft Client Care Letter in advance please ask the Clerks.

Why would I want to use New Court Chambers?

New Court Chambers is a highly respected London chambers that specialises entirely in Family and Mental Health Law. As a result it only has Barristers who are experts in their field of work. The way New Court works gives you the assurance that you will only get first rate advice at a reasonable, and not over-inflated, cost. New Court Barristers work primarily in London and the ‘South-East’ and have enormous experience of the region’s Judges. New Court Chambers’ Barristers are fully insured and hugely experienced in working for leading family solicitors and public authorities.

Where can I get more information?

The Bar Council publishes up to date guidance on the Direct Access rules on their website. You will always be advised to read these before you instruct a Barrister so you can make the right decision for you. The Bar Standards Board also produces guidelines which you might also wish to read.