02 September 2013

Public Access

The Public Access Rules are Rules C119 - C131 of the Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook.

Training requirements

All barristers must complete Public Access training prior to undertaking Public Access work.

A small number will be eligible for a waiver from the training, but they must apply for this. Those most likely to be eligible for a waiver will be able to demonstrate extensive experience of undertaking Public Access work and Legal Aid cases involving vulnerable clients, and the associated knowledge and understanding required.

Barristers of fewer than three years' practising experience can undertake Public Access work if they complete the new Public Access training. They must also:

  • seek feedback from their public access clients on the service provided; and
  • maintain a log of public access cases they have dealt with, including any issues or problems that have arisen and make this log available, on request, to the BSB for review. 

Public access barristers and the new Code of Conduct


From 6 January 2014 the Bar should refer to a new Handbook for rules and guidance on their conduct as barristers. The revised Code now forms Part two of the new BSB 'Handbook', which brings together all the BSB's regulations and guidance for barristers into one publication.

For Public Access barristers, one of the key changes is that self-employed barristers are allowed to apply for an extension to their practising certificate in order to be able to conduct litigation.

This means that, as long as Public Access barristers have the correct authorisation, their clients no longer have to act as a self-representing litigant or instruct a solicitor, should the case go to court.

Legal aid work and public access barristers


The Public Access scheme has been widened to include clients who might be entitled to Legal Aid.

Find out more


To apply for a waiver from the training, download the form on the right hand side of this webpage.

For more information email us via bsbcontactus@barstandardsboard.org.uk

(Barristers can get in touch via the Bar Council's Public Access helpline on 0207 611 1472)

The BSB has appointed the Bar Council, Barristers Direct and HJT Training to deliver Public Access training schemes.

Contact details for the Bar Council are: 020 7242 0082, PAenquiry@BarCouncil.org.uk or

http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/supporting-the-bar/bar-council-training-courses/public-access-training/

Contact details for Barristers Direct are: 020 7822 7000, lc@barristersdirect.co.uk or http://barristersdirect.co.uk/home/training.asp

Contact details for HJT Training are: 020 3405 2942, enquiries@hjt-training.co.uk or http://www.hjt-training.co.uk/public-access