Public Access

Members of the public are able to instruct barristers directly for legal advice and representation without having to go through a solicitor or another intermediary professional first. This is called Public Access. Ithas been introduced to increase access to the legal system by the public and is part of a wider scheme to make it easier and more economical for the general public to access legal advice.

As of January 2014, Public Access rules also apply to instructions received from a lay foreign client or a lay client in England and Wales in relation to a foreign matter

Doughty Street Chambers has a number of barristers who are licensed to accept Direct Public Access instructions. Click on meet the team to review profiles.


What are the benefits to you as a client?

Barristers can still undertake the same work for you as they did previously. However, under the Public Access scheme, you generally take responsibility for the preliminary work normally done by a solicitor or other professional, and then engage and deal directly with your barrister for the specific tasks you wish the barrister to do for you. 

In cases where it is appropriate, Public Access enables you to save money by not having to engage a solicitor and allows you to approach a specific barrister of your choice who is licensed to undertake Public Access instructions, thus providing you with a direct line of communication to the barrister.

Previously, clients entitled to legal aid were not able to use the Public Access scheme. However recent rule changes have widened the Public Access scheme to include clients who might be entitled to Legal Aid.

Public Access barristers at Doughty Street can help you with a wide range of problems including in employment, crime, immigration and professional discipline, to name but a few.


What Doughty Street Public Access barristers can do you for you:

Doughty Street Chambers enjoys a reputation for excellence, and is committed to providing a service that is efficient, responsive and accessible.

The Public Access scheme allows you to go directly to the expert barrister. This means our licensed barristers can:

  • provide you with expert legal advice about the merits and potential outcomes in your case
  • assist you to draft 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


Unless authorised to litigate our barristers cannot:

  • issue court documents on your behalf
  • contact witnesses or collect and investigate evidence
  • instruct an expert witness on your behalf
  • correspond with the other side on your behalf

We can, though, advise you on how to do this yourself or suggest other legal professionals to do this for you.  

Each of our barristers must strictly adhere to the BSB Handbook and as such, if on reviewing your case the barrister considers that a solicitor should be instructed in your own interests or for another professional reason, the barrister will advise you of this and will no longer be able to act for you other than on the instructions of a solicitor. Should this situation arise, the barrister will advise you of it as soon as possible.

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