Brexit prompts public & businesses to seek legal advice from barristers

5 August 2016

New figures from the Bar Council's Direct Access Portal, the free to use 'find a barrister' website, show that the public and businesses are turning to barristers to help them with a wide range of legal issues. 

Search statistics from a sample of more than 9000 individual searches made between 1 January and 1 August this year reveal that the top 20 most common search terms on the Portal, which lists barristers who have undergone additional training in order to deal directly with clients, revealed that employment issues, commercial matters and EU law were amongst the most popular searches this year. Searches for intellectual property, personal injury and disability discrimination were also popular, as was banking. 

Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimee Doerries QC, said: "These findings give some indication of what the consumer, whether that be an individual member of the public or a small or medium sized business, are seeking the services of a direct access barrister for. The broad range of popular searches in the top 20 alone show the public are looking to barristers for all types of legal support. 

"We can only assume that the reason EU law is so high up the rankings (fourth) is because of the uncertainty of Brexit. Although the main reason anyone is seeking the services of a barrister in the first place is because they are uncertain of their position in relation to the law, whether that be an employment issue, land dispute, or a matter affecting their business.  

"It is encouraging to see that growing numbers are turning to direct access barristers for legal help. Traditionally, the public would go through a solicitor in order to access the services of a barrister. Direct access allows anyone to go straight to a barrister where their case or legal problem is suited to that type of approach. In some cases, it might be more appropriate for someone to go to a solicitor who can subsequently instruct a barrister if needs be. The point of direct access is that it creates more choice for those with a problem who need a legal professional to help them and allows them access to the specialist skills of a barrister." 

The top 20 most popular searches on the Direct Access Portal were, in order: 

  1. Civil

  2. Property

  3. Employment

  4. EU

  5. Professional Negligence

  6. Wills/Inheritance

  7. Administrative

  8. Landlord and tenant

  9. Commercial

  10. Land

  11. Intellectual Property

  12. Probate

  13. Banking

  14. Disability Discrimination

  15. Mental health

  16. Personal injury

  17. Court of Protection

  18. Trusts

  19. Defamation

  20. Medical Negligence 

Mid table searches on the Portal included even the less common areas of law, such as Ecclesiastical law and Animal Welfare law. The least popular search was Transport law. There are 70 different areas of law to search from on the Portal and multiple searches can be made. 

The Portal allows consumers and businesses to search for a barrister based on their areas of legal expertise and location in England & Wales. 

Ends

Notes to Editors 

Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk

The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board