What is Direct Access?

The Direct Access (or Public Access) scheme allows members of the public to instruct an authorised barrister directly. The barrister’s role remains the same, meaning that they are qualified to:

  • provide you with expert legal advice about the merits and potential outcomes of your case;
  • assist you with drafting correspondence;
  • help to draft statements from litigants and witnesses;
  • draft formal court documents;
  • advise you on suitable experts and draft instructions to expert witnesses;
  • offer you advice on the next steps to be taken in proceedings;
  • assist you in trying to resolve your case; and
  • represent you in court.

Most barristers who offer Direct Access do not offer to conduct litigation. That means that the responsibility for the day to day management of your case will remain with you. 
 

Eligibility for Legal Aid

Barristers are not able to undertake any publicly funded (‘legal aid’) work under the Direct Access scheme, nor can they carry out any means test for you. If you think that you may be eligible for public funding, you can check by completing the Legal Aid Eligibility Calculator.
 

If you are eligible for legal aid but prefer to instruct a barrister directly, you can do so on a privately funded basis.
 

Terms of service

The DAP cannot action complaints against barristers. Any member of the public wishing to complain about the service they have received should contact the barrister they instructed directly, requesting a copy of the barrister’s complaints procedure.
 

Visit the Direct Access Portal and make an enquiry

 If you have an enquiry regarding a specific barrister, please contact the Bar Standards Board, or use The Barristers’ Register to search for their details.