17 September 2019

Launch of consultation on rule changes for Licensed and Public Access schemes

We have published a new consultation on potential changes to the rules governing the Public and Licensed Access schemes for barristers.

These schemes allow members of the public and other lay clients to instruct barristers directly without first instructing a solicitor or other intermediary.

Our new consultation follows our recent review of the Public and Licensed Access schemes. The review found that although both schemes are working well and provide a valuable service, improvements to the rules governing the schemes could result in a better service for clients and deliver greater access to justice for the wider public. 

Our latest consultation proposes a number of recommendations including:

  1. Simplifying the existing rules - making them less prescriptive and more proportionate;
  2. The continuation of the current approach, where Public and Licensed Access work is not subject to the "cab-rank rule". This follows a review of current arrangements; and
  3. The possibility of changing the Scope of Practice Rules to allow some charities and businesses to instruct barristers without having to use the Public or Licensed Access schemes.

We are keen to hear the thoughts of all barristers, as any practising barrister could be instructed under licensed access. About one third of barristers are authorised to receive public access instructions.

Please share your views with us. The consultation closes on Friday, 15 September 2017.