17 November 2017

How do I find a barrister?

When you decide that your problem is one that needs the help of a barrister, the next step is to find one who is right for the work that you need to be done. Some barristers will only work through a solicitor while others will work directly with you to help resolve your problem. The sections below cover how to find a barrister and how to hire them to work for you.

Where can I find a barrister?

How can I instruct a barrister?

When might a barrister refuse instructions?

What is public access?

How does public access work and what is the difference?

 

Where can I find a barrister?


The Bar Council's Bar Directory is the fullest list of practising barristers available. It can be found on their website.

 

How can I instruct a barrister?


When you need a barrister to do work for you, there are two ways that you can instruct them. If you have a solicitor who is also working on your legal problem, they will instruct a barrister for you. Solicitors will often have barristers they work with regularly and will know who to ask.

If you do not have a solicitor working for you, you can go directly to a barrister yourself. See section"How do I find a barrister?" below for more information on how you can find and use a public access barrister.

 

When might a barrister refuse instructions?


There are several reasons a barrister may need to refuse instructions, or not take on your work. These include:

  • If they have too much other work on or do not have the time to be able to do your work to a high standard;
  • If there is a conflict of interest for the barrister;
  • If the barrister does not have the experience to handle the work;
  • If the barrister does not have the right insurance to cover the work; or
  • If your solicitor has not offered a proper fee when briefing your work to the barrister.

What is public access?


Public access is the term used to describe members of the public going directly to a barrister, rather than through a solicitor. Not all barristers are allowed to deal with members of the public directly - they need to have completed special training in order to be able to do this. You can find a register of barristers who are able to do public access work online.

 

How does public access work and what is the difference?


If you are using a public access barrister you may need to do some things yourself, including conducting litigation and serving documents.

Conducting litigation includes such things as filing documents at court and serving documents on others. "Serving documents" on another person means an official handing over of those documents to them.

Make sure your barrister explains what they can do and what you would need to do for yourself.

If you are eligible for legal aid you can still hire a barrister using the public access scheme, but you will not be able to apply for legal aid. A public access barrister should help you make an informed decision about whether to apply for legal aid, or proceed with public access. The"How do I pay a barrister?"section gives more information on legal aid.