Direct Access at Fenners

For over fifteen years, barristers have been able to take instructions directly from clients, without the need to go through a solicitor. This is known as Direct Access.

A barrister and a solicitor have different roles, and it is useful to understand the difference between them when considering whether Direct Access is for you. You can read more about the difference between barristers and solicitors here [link to second SEO piece].

Here at Fenners we are proud to have a number of members who are licensed to receive instructions from Direct Access clients, negating the need for a solicitor. But what is Direct Access, and how could it be of use to you?

What is Direct Access?

In a nutshell, Direct Access essentially means that a client can go directly to a barrister without the need to instruct a solicitor first. Not all barristers can accept instructions in this way, as a particular license is needed.

Here at Fenners, we are proud to have many barristers fully licensed to accept Direct Access enquiries. These barristers are happy to accept instructions from members of the public directly, and will provide them with expert legal advice, draft documents, attend court, and represent their clients in mediation, without the client needing to instruct solicitor first.

Why was direct access introduced?

Direct Access was introduced in 2004, to allow members of the public to engage the services of a barrister directly. The introduction of Direct Access barristers came about to open up the legal system to the public and to make it both easier and cheaper to obtain access to legal advice. In some cases, a solicitor is still needed, but in many, it is possible to conduct a case without one.

Once a Direct Access barrister has been instructed, it will be that barrister, rather than a solicitor, who will provide legal advice and guides a client through the legal process. Our friendly clerks will be happy to discuss your personal case to establish whether we can provide a Direct Access barrister for you. Give us a call on 01223368761 to discuss your situation in confidence, and we will be happy to suggest a suitable Direct Access barrister at Fenners for you.

What are the benefits of Direct Access?

The most obvious benefit to engaging a Direct Access barrister is the financial saving a client will make by doing so. Rather than paying for both a solicitor and a barrister, under the Direct Access Scheme, clients only need to pay for a barrister to represent them.

Using a Direct Access barrister tends to make the process much simpler, too. Not only will a client only be paying for one lawyer - a barrister as opposed to a barrister and a solicitor – they will also deal directly with the barrister throughout the case, making communications more straightforward.

There is much less room for error when there is a single point of contact. If a client’s case is handled by one of Fenners’ direct access barristers, there will be a continuity to proceedings, which can be lost when there are a number of parties involved.

Direct Access is a useful tool for those seeking advice in unusual areas of law. This is because finding a solicitor to help in these cases is often very costly. Cutting this fee out altogether means that a case can go ahead without breaking the bank, and in these turbulent financial times, reducing costs is a major concern for many embarking upon legal action. At Fenners, we are pleased to be able to help our clients reduce their costs at what can often be a stressful time.

What qualifies a case for Direct Access?

The good news is that almost all cases qualify for Direct Access, under the Public Access Scheme, with the exception of those cases which are funded by Legal Aid. Cases which are likely to be straightforward are the most suitable for Direct Access. This means that Direct Access is not always appropriate for difficult cases involving complex matters such as child care following divorce proceedings.

If you are not sure whether your case is suitable for Direct Access, the best course of action is to call Fenners on 01223368761 and speak to one of our clerks. This sensitive and experienced team will be happy to advise on whether your case qualifies for Direct Access, or whether it would be more appropriate for you to speak to a solicitor first.

What does someone do if a case doesn’t qualify for direct access?
If you are advised that your case does not qualify for direct access, we will be happy to recommend a solicitor in the first instance, who will guide you through the process. Give us a call on 01223 368761 and one of our friendly and experienced clerks will be happy to help.

Direct Access Client Testimonials

“Just a brief note to thank you both for your help and assistance in court today. We were very pleased with the outcome. Hopefully we can now look forward to a period of stability for James and Jack”
- Representation of a father.

"Ben really was an incredibly good representative to have in court. Behind the scenes he was efficient and helpful with the preparatory paperwork, explaining things clearly and respecting any time I needed to make decisions. In court he was calm and represented me in a clear but firm manner. I would highly recommend Ben as a family barrister to anyone that needed one."
- Representation of a mother.

“I cannot thank you enough for your help and support at Court and how much I appreciated your calm and extremely professional but firm manner. It has been a stressful time getting to the outcome we got at Court and once we had finished it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Once again many thanks for attending court and I couldn’t recommend you enough.” - Representation of a father.