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.

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 the urgency, type and amount of work involved, together with the level of experience of the barrister instructed.

Hourly rates for advice, non-contentious work, Court and Tribunal advocacy range from £125 + vat to £500+ 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.

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.
  4. Following review of that questionnaire, fees will be discussed and a quote provided for the proposed work.
  5. Arrangements will then be made to obtain any relevant documents or additional information ahead of a call or conference with a barrister to discuss the case and explore next steps.
  6. Depending on the stage of the case, the work to be done and if it is decided that the case is suitable for Direct Access, fees will be agreed and relevant paperwork signed off.
  7. Agreed fees are generally paid in advance of any work commencing.


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 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 during any forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), such as Mediation or Arbitration.

Given these limitations, the day-to-day responsibility of conducting the case remains with 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.