Public Access

Public Access means that anyone can instruct a barrister directly without having to go through a solicitor – this can save you money, lets you approach a specific barrister of your choice and gives you a direct line of communication with the barrister. It’s worth keeping in mind, not all barristers do Public Access work and some legal problems are not suitable for Public Access.


Where it is appropriate, the Public Access scheme allows you to go directly to an authorised barrister who can:

  • 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


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.


If on reviewing your case the barrister considers that in your own interests or for another professional reason, a solicitor should be instructed, the barrister will advise you of this as soon as possible and will no longer be able to act for you other than on the instructions of a solicitor.


You generally take responsibility for the preliminary work normally done by a solicitor, and then engage and deal directly with the barrister for the specific tasks you wish the barrister to do for you. This means you need to have a good level of organisation and have your papers in order for public access to benefit you.


All Public Access work must be paid for privately.  The cost of instructing a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers will depend on the complexity of your case, the seniority of counsel, the work involved and the urgency. All fees must be paid before the barrister begins the work.


Eligibility for Legal Aid

Barristers are not able to undertake legal aid work under the Public Access scheme nor can they carry out any means test for you. If you think you may be eligible for Public Funding (also known as legal aid) you can check by completing the Legal Aid Eligibility Calculator.

If you are eligible for legal aid but prefer to instruct a barrister directly, you can do so on a privately funded basis. We will explain the implications of instructing a barrister privately and the likely costs you will incur.


If you are interested in instructing a barrister within Doughty Street Chambers please get in touch by completing our short online form. The barrister will then assess whether your case is suitable to be dealt with under Public Access. The form will be sent through to the clerks who will aim to respond to your enquiry within 48 hours.


If you need more information about Public Access, Full details of the Bar Council’s Public Access scheme can be found on their website.  


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