Direct Access Barristers

Following a change in the traditional referral rules in 2004, it has been possible for individuals, businesses, charities and other organisations to instruct barristers directly, this is known as Direct Public Access.

Not all cases are suitable for Direct Access and the circumstances of each need to be carefully considered. To find out if your case is suitable, please contact a member of Chambers’ dedicated Direct Access clerking team on 0191 232 1927, who will discuss your case further and if appropriate arrange a consultation with a specialist barrister.

Please see the detailed FAQs section below for further information on the Direct Access process.

Instructing a Direct Access Barrister – FAQs

The majority of Trinity’s areas of expertise can be carried out under Direct Access and most of Chambers’ barristers are qualified to practice areas under Direct Access.

The Direct Access team has experience in dealing with a wide range of cases including - employment disputes, immigration, commercial, contractual and business disputes, insolvency, disputed wills and inheritance, property and neighbour disputes, private prosecutions, regulatory investigations, Coroners’ Inquests, motor offences, licensing applications, education issues, private landlord and tenant disputes, divorce settlements and children access issues.

Many of these areas of dispute can also be resolved by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) through Mediation and Arbitration. Many of Trinity’s barristers can be instructed directly by parties who engage with ADR. 

Barristers can charge on an hourly rate or fixed price basis for a particular piece of work such as a conference, written advice, helping to draft documents or representation at Court or Tribunal. The clerking team will always agree in advance any fees to be paid, ensuring full transparency. The level of fees generally depends on several factors, including:

  • Seniority/expertise of the barrister
  • Type of work involved
  • Complexity of the case
  • Value of the case
  • Urgency of the matter
  • Preparation time
  • Duration of any Court or Tribunal hearing or ADR matter, including any conferences 
  • Any additional expenses

Rates are dependent on the barrister you wish to instruct. Hourly rates for advice, non-contentious work, Court and Tribunal advocacy range from £200 + vat to £600+ vat. Generally for Court and Tribunal advocacy you will be quoted for a ‘brief fee’ (preparation and day 1 of trial/hearing) and then a ‘refresher’ fee for each day following.

Agreed fees are generally paid in advance of any work commencing once a contract is entered into.

Any additional work required or requested once the initial work has commenced, will be quoted for separately.

These terms apply to our barristers’ fees across all of our key practice areas of Crime, Regulatory, Family and Civil Law and apply to hearings listed in the Magistrates Court, County Court, Crown Court, Higher Courts and Tribunals. For further details please visit the Fees, Billing & Price Transparency section of Trinity's About page here.

To discuss the likely cost of a case, please get in touch with a member of the Direct Access clerking team. Under the Direct Access rules barristers cannot apply for Legal Aid to fund a case.

  1. When you contact Chambers you will be passed to a member of the dedicated Direct Access clerking team.
  2. They will then talk through the circumstances of your case and determine if there is sufficient information to decide if it is suitable for Direct Access.
  3. You will then be asked to complete a questionnaire asking for further details about the case. This will be sent to you within one working day of your initial enquiry. 
  4. Following review of that questionnaire, once papers have been provided (if applicable at this stage), you will then be offered the CVs of suitable barristers who are available and able to take on your matter.
  5. Depending on the stage of the case and the work to be done, fees will be quoted, agreed and relevant paperwork signed off.
  6. Agreed fees are paid in advance of any work commencing.
  7. This Process generally takes around 7 working days, but timescales may vary depending on urgency and availability.

Yes, generally the barristers’ work will be limited to the following:

  • Expert legal advice about your case, its chances of success and the risks.
  • Helping you draft documents necessary for the case, such as letters, witness statements and Court and Tribunal documents.
  • Advising and helping you on the use and instruction of any experts that may be needed in your case.
  • Ultimately representing you at Court or Tribunal proceedings, or during any forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), such as Mediation or Arbitration.
  • The barrister does not go on the Court or Tribunal record as your representative, as a solicitor would, and you remain a ‘Litigant in Person’. All communication from the Court, Tribunal or other parties, will come to you direct, and it is your responsibility to provide this to us.

Given these limitations, the day-to-day responsibility of conducting the case remains with you as the Direct Access client. The barristers have a professional ongoing obligation to let you know if your case is better suited to being dealt with by a solicitor.

A further limitation is that Direct Access barristers cannot deal with cases funded by Legal Aid. However, if you are entitled to Legal Aid, but choose not to accept it, then you can still instruct a barrister on Direct Access.

Urgent Deadlines

If you are considering instructing a barrister on a Direct Access basis and your case has potential deadlines, then please get in touch as soon as possible and be aware that if any such deadlines have passed or are extremely close, then we may not be able to help.