17 September 2019

Schemes allowing barristers to receive instructions without solicitors are working well, our latest review finds

Last month we published the results of a review into the Public and Licensed Access schemes which allow members of the public and other lay clients to instruct barristers directly without first instructing a solicitor or other professional client.
Our review concluded that both schemes are operating well, and are an important way for the public to access legal services.
The review also found that most Public Access barristers are providing a valuable service to their clients. However, it identified three issues that we should address to improve the Public Access scheme: 

  1. There are barriers that are making some consumers unable or unwilling to access a Public Access provider;
  2. Barristers and clerks may not have enough support or may be inadequately prepared to manage Public Access work; and
  3. Some Public Access barristers may be providing a poor client service.

We have agreed to implement all of the recommendations made as a result of the review. These include:

  • reviewing how effective the training for Public Access barristers is;
  • amending the Rules and Guidance for both schemes; and

reviewing and revising the documentation given to the public when accessing barristers via the schemes.