You may instruct a barrister directly. The Public Access Rules were introduced in 2004. Before then it was not possible for members of the public to engage a barrister without first instructing a solicitor. In certain circumstances it is now possible for barristers to accept work directly from members of the public, organisations and commercial companies without incurring the additional expense of a solicitor.
Using a barrister direct can help you to save a significant amount of money overall because you are not also paying fees to a solicitor, you can go to a specialist barrister of your choice, and correspondence and communications may be faster because you are dealing with the barrister directly.
Public Access Process Guide
We request that in all instances, public access clients complete our online questionnaire.
Within 2 days of receiving your completed questionnaire, our experienced clerks will assess which team members would be suitable to assist you with your matter. In doing this we look at relevant expertise, availability and seniority, allowing you to make a considered decision as to which barrister might be the best option for you.
A meeting is then arranged with you and the recommended barrister. This could take place by telephone, video or in person and is normally within 14 days. No fee is charged for this meeting and there is no obligation for you to commit to any instruction. This meeting also enables the barrister to assess your matter and it’s suitability for the public access scheme.
If you decide to proceed, you will receive a client care letter from us, setting out our terms, the work that you wish the barrister to complete and their fee for undertaking this work. If further stages of work are required, subsequent client care letters will be sent to you.
Urgent advice can be provided when it is necessary. However, in normal circumstances our barristers would aim to deliver advice in writing or in conference within 14-21 days of instruction.
Our fees vary according to the area of law, complexity and the seniority of counsel. We are not able to offer set rates. However, our clerks would be happy to discuss approximate fee levels ahead of your initial meeting. Full payment must be made in advance of any work being undertaken.
Whilst we will always endeavour to cover hearings at short notice, we request that you inform us of any hearings at the earliest opportunity. This will allow us to provide greater choice in the barristers offered to you.
Click on a specialist area below for a list of barristers practising in that field:
- Child Law
- Court of Protection
- Employment & Professional Disciplinary
- General Common Law
- Health & Safety
A guide to the public access scheme can be found here on the Bar Standards Board Website. Not all cases will be suitable, but the site sets out details of the sort of work a barrister is permitted to conduct without a solicitor being involved.
In brief, a barrister can:
- Advise you on the merits of your case and the way in which it is likely to proceed;
- Appear on your behalf to argue your case at court;
- Advise you on the need for expert evidence and on the choice of a suitable expert;
- Correspond on your behalf;
- Draft your witness statement, if needed, based on what you tell them. A barrister may also be able to help finalise a witness statement from another person based on the information that person has provided to you.
A barrister cannot:
- No barrister at Albion Chambers is authorised to conduct litigation;
- A barrister cannot file proceedings on your behalf, file other applications or take other formal steps in court or other proceedings;
- A barrister is not allowed to instruct an expert on your behalf;
- A barrister is not allowed to take responsibility for the handling of clients’ affairs, or to handle clients’ money.
Because we have a large team of specialist barristers at Albion Chambers we can offer you a wide range of experience to suit each individual case. The seniority of the barrister will affect the cost to you. In setting fees we will also take in to account the complexity of your case, the urgency of the work and the amount of work involved.
- Hourly rates
We have banded our hourly rates in accordance with the years of call of the barrister instructed:
King’s Counsel £350 – 500ph Ten years’ call and above (including some barristers of a more junior call who formerly practised as solicitors) £150 – 350ph or on a fixed fee basis Below ten years’ call £150 – 225ph or on a fixed fee basis
- Basis for fees
Barristers in the following teams most often charge on the following basis for the following areas of work (in each instance please contact the clerks to check that this system of charging will be applicable for your case):
- Child Law: The majority of public law children cases are legally-aided. Some private law cases are eligible for legal aid however most of these cases are privately-funded. The rates at which a barrister is paid for legally-aided work are set by the Legal Aid Agency. In privately-funded cases, some will be charged an agreed fixed fee, but most will be calculated the on basis of an hourly rate or as a fixed fee.
- Court of Protection: These cases are split between being legally-aided and privately-funded. The rates at which a barrister is paid for legally-aided work are set by the Legal Aid Agency. In privately-funded cases, some will be charged an agreed fixed fee, but most will be calculated the on basis of an hourly rate or as a fixed fee.
- Crime: The majority of criminal cases are legally-aided and the fees are set by the Legal Aid Agency. Fees for those cases not attracting legal aid will charge at either a fixed rate or calculated on the basis of an hourly rate.
- Employment and Professional Disciplinary: Fees for all work, advisory, drafting and representation in this area are most usually calculated on the basis of an hourly rate or as a fixed fee.
- Inquests: Fees for all work, advisory, drafting and representation in this area are most usually calculated on the basis of an hourly rate or as a fixed fee.
- Matrimonial Finance: In the majority of cases, fees for all work, advisory, drafting and representation in this area are most usually calculated on the basis of an hourly rate or as a fixed fee.
- Personal Injury: In the majority of cases, fees for all work, advisory, drafting and representation in this area are most usually calculated on the basis of an hourly rate or as a fixed fee.
- Regulatory: Fees for all work, advisory, drafting and representation in this area are most usually calculated on the basis of an hourly rate or as a fixed fee.
- Health and Safety: Fees for all work, advisory, drafting and representation in this area are most usually calculated on the basis of an hourly rate or as a fixed fee.
- General Common Law: Fees for all work, advisory, drafting and representation in this area are most usually calculated on the basis of an hourly rate or as a fixed fee.
All fees are charged exclusive of VAT.
- Factors that may increase fees in a case
In all privately-funded cases, whether accepted on the basis of a fixed fee or hourly rate there are factors which increase the amount of work involved and the fees charged.
Some of the influencing factors include:
- The seniority of barrister instructed on your case. More experienced barristers are likely to charge a higher level of fees than a more junior, less experienced barrister.
- The volume of papers involved and/or the complexity of the factual and legal issues involved.
- Urgency. Work required within short timescales which may require the barrister to prioritise a case over others, and to work out of normal working hours will usually incur higher levels of fees.
- Case significance. Cases of particularly high-profile in terms of consequence, impact and also those with media interest may require a high level of fees.
- The length of time the barrister is required at court.
- The amount of travel time required for the barrister to attend court and any case conferences.
Our clerks will always discuss the likely level of fees required in each case. Should you be concerned about the level of fees that may be involved in your case please speak to the relevant barrister’s clerk at the earliest opportunity.
We will always aim to inform you if a barrister is required to carry out more work on the case than originally estimated, and will then revise the fees accordingly. Please note that the most accurate fees can be quoted if full details are given to our clerks when you are first instructing one of our barristers.
Work in each type of case within the different specialist areas will have differing key stages and timescales. You will be advised of all these stages as are relevant to your case by your barrister.
All fees must be paid before the barrister is permitted to carry out the work.
All barristers who accept work under the public access scheme in Albion Chambers are licensed to do so by the Bar Standards Board and operate under the Code of Conduct for Barristers in England and Wales, and under the Public Access Rules.
Should you be interested in finding out more about instructing a barrister at Albion Chambers under the public access scheme, then please telephone us on 0117 927 2144 and ask to speak to one of the clerks. You will be asked to complete a short online form, so the barrister can assess whether your case is suitable to be dealt with under public access. If so, we can arrange a short meeting of approximately 30 minutes in Chambers or, in special circumstances, elsewhere, at no charge to consider the position in more detail. If the case can be progressed on that basis, you will be offered the opportunity to enter into an agreement with the barrister and the case can be taken forward.
- Eligibility for Legal Aid
You may be eligible for public funding (also known as ‘legal aid’). You can check this on the Legal Aid Eligibility Calculator. A barrister is not allowed to do legal aid work under the Public Access scheme, neither are they able to carry out any means testing for you, however you can find more information about this at www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid.
Even if you are eligible for legal aid, you may prefer to instruct a barrister directly, on a privately-funded basis. If you decide to proceed on this basis your barrister will fully explain to you the implications of instructing them privately, and the likely costs you will incur. In these circumstances your barrister will ask you to sign a certificate to confirm that you wish to proceed with your case on a privately-funded basis, and that you fully understand the implications of your decision.
See our Transparency page.
Our public access barristers
Adam Vaitilingam KC
Call: 1987 | Silk 2010
Kate Brunner KC
Call: 1997 | Silk 2015
Call: 1997 | Solicitor: 1981
Sarah Pope MCIArb
Call: 2006 | Solicitor: 1994
Call: 2006 | Solicitor: 1988
Call: 2012 | Solicitor: 2001