Direct and Public Access Scheme

The Public and Licensed Access schemes allow lay clients to instruct barristers directly without instructing a solicitor or other lawyer.

Licensed Access – This allows members of a professional organisation, companies, firms and other organisations to instruct a barrister directly, provided they have a licence to instruct counsel from the Bar Council.

Public Access – This allows members of the public, commercial and non-commercial organisations to instruct barristers directly on most civil matters. See the Guidance for Lay Clients.

Our barristers are qualified to:

  • Provide you with expert legal advice about the merits and potential outcomes of your case
  • Assist you with drafting correspondence
  • Help to draft statements from litigants and witnesses
  • Draft formal court documents
  • Advise you on suitable experts and draft instructions to expert witnesses
  • Offer you advice on the next steps to be taken in proceedings
  • Assist you in trying to resolve your case
  • Represent you in court.

The schemes do not fundamentally change the role of a barrister as a specialist adviser and so there are limits on what we can do for you. We will need to be satisfied that you can undertake certain tasks yourself, albeit with our guidance. In certain cases and situations, we may also feel that it is in your best interests to instruct a solicitor to assist, and we will be happy to recommend suitable options.

Tasks we cannot undertake include:

  • Issuing proceedings
  • Serving proceedings or other documentation on other parties
  • Filing documents (such as expert reports, case summaries and witness statements) with a court
  • Contacting witnesses and collecting or investigating evidence
  • Instructing an expert witness on your behalf
  • Corresponding with the other side and the court on your behalf.

We accept Public Access instructions on a privately funded basis only, and our policy is to take payment in advance of counsel undertaking any work. We accept funds by bank transfer or cheque. The cost of instructing a barrister at 39 Essex Chambers will depend on the complexity of your case, the seniority of counsel, the amount of work involved, and the urgency of the work. The quotes will either be on an hourly rate or fixed fee (brief fee/ refresher) basis, plus VAT, subject to what is most appropriate for the case and is most cost effective. Our practice managers will explain the implications of instructing a barrister privately and the likely costs you will incur. They will also provide you with information about the likely key stages and timescales involved.

We will always provide you with a clear pricing structure for handling your case and will return your documents to you free of charge if you decide you don’t want to use our services having provided that pricing to you. You will be asked to pay in advance. This means you will never be charged for work that you have not already agreed one of our barristers should carry out.

We do not accept Public Access Instructions in the following areas:

  • Employment Tribunal cases (advice and representation for employers and employees)
  • Financial disputes arising out of divorce
  • Immigration appeals (First-tier Tribunal)
  • Inheritance Act matters
  • Licensing applications in relation to business premises
  • Personal injury claims
  • Summary only motoring offences (advice and representation for defendants)
  • Winding-up petitions

If you would like to access this information in an alternative format, please contact Lindsay Scott.

If you have a legal matter and wish to instruct a barrister under one of the above schemes, please contact us and discuss it with one of our practice managers on 020 832 1111 or email