FAQ

Is my case suitable for the Direct Access Scheme?

All areas of law are now suitable for Direct Access with some limitations.  Direct Access in all the practice areas I do is permitted.

Who can instruct a barrister under the Direct Access Scheme?

Anyone is the short answer however it should be noted that the ‘cab rank’ rule does not apply to Direct Access work and I’m not therefore obliged to accept your instructions.

What can't I do as a barrister under the Direct Access Scheme?

As a barrister’s my role is to represent you at a hearing and to advise you on the best way forward. The rules on Direct Access mean that I’m not allowed to do any of the following:

  • engage in correspondence on your behalf,
  • take responsibility for the general management of a client’s case,
  • hold your money. This means I cannot make or arrange payment of court fees, expert’s fees or witnesses’ expenses,
  • issue proceedings, file documents at court or serve documents on other parties,
  • investigate a case, collect evidence or instruct an expert witness on your behalf.

As you are instructing me without a solicitor you must be sure that you can do whatever the Barrister is not allowed to do, or that you have made an arrangement with another person of suitable competence and experience to provide such services for you.

 

It is also the duty of the Barrister to assess this issue. I may refuse to take instructions under the public access scheme if I consider it is in your best interests to involve a solicitor in your case.

What will it cost and when do I have to pay?

I endeavour to fix fees whenever possible. For details as to the fees see the separate ‘Fees’ heading. I am not able to offer any credit facilities and therefore all fees must be settled in advance of any work undertaken. If it has not been possible to provide a fixed fee then the fee will be payable on completion of the work and you will be contacted with the total cost.

Can I get public funding?

Public funding is not available for work undertaken under the Direct Public Access scheme. If you think that you might be eligible for public funding then you should consult a solicitor.

How will I know if you will take on my case?

Within 48 hours of receipt of your completed online form, e-mail or letter I will contact you to give a preliminary indication. Arrangement can be made for more urgent instructions to be dealt with more quickly subject to my availability. I may at that stage or at any other time ask you to forward copy documents or other material to enable a decision to be reached. Do not send any additional documents unless and until requested to do so by me or one of the clerks. Under no circumstances should you forward original documents.

What then?

Until I have agreed to take your case neither I nor Stour Chambers can accept any responsibility for advising you. Once I have has agreed to take on your case or matter, you will be sent a "client care letter". This letter will be your contract with me for the work to be done. It is an important document and you will need to read it carefully and satisfy yourself that you understand it.
The client care letter will set out:

  • the extent of the work that I have agreed to carry out;
  • the fees that are payable for the work or alternatively the hourly rate that will be charged together with an estimate of the likely costs and a “costs cap” figure beyond which no additional work will be done without your further agreement;
  • the conditions on which I will do the work;
  • Your agreement will be with me and not with Stour Chambers. No-one else will carry out any work for you unless there is a separate agreement with that further barrister.

What if I want to complain?

I hope you will be happy with the professional service I provide. However, if you are not satisfied you should first refer the matter to Stour Chambers in line with the Chambers’ complaints procedure. If you would like a copy of the complaints procedure please contact my clerks: Clerks@stourchambers.co.uk

What about retaining my documents?

Under the Direct Public Access scheme I’m entitled to keep copies of any documents you provide but will return all your original documents to you when I’ve completed the agreed work. I would prefer you to provide copies rather than originals, but if this is not possible, then I may make a reasonable charge for photocopying.

Who regulates you?

As a barrister I’m governed by the Bar Council. If you want more details as Direct Public Access then please go to: www.barcouncil.org.uk

The information provided here is a summary of the basis upon which work can be accepted by me on a public access basis. No contract or legal relationship will be concluded unless and until I have agreed to accept instructions on a public access basis and until you and I have set out the terms of our agreement in writing.

To speak direct to a barrister:

Call 07967 152344

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