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Corporate and private clients can now instruct barristers directly under the Bar Council's Public Access scheme. In July 2004 long overdue changes were made to the Bar Code of Conduct. There are some exceptions and prohibitions, but the general rule now allows access to qualified barristers in private practice without having to retain a solicitor as well. 

Whether you are based in England or overseas, you can now take advantage of the highly skilled services of a qualified barrister without additionally having to instruct a solicitor. Some types of work are prohibited without the involvement of a solicitor (crime, family and immigration cases), although these restrictions are likely to be removed in due course.

This scheme allows clients accessibility to a highly skilled branch of the legal profession and reduces the costs and inconvenience of having to pay two sets of fees (often with a duplication of work).

The changes were brought about after years of campaigning and were finally precipitated by a report published by the Office of Fair Trading, which found the legal profession to be acting in an anti-competitive manner.

If it becomes necessary to involve a solicitor, a firm can be retained to work alongside the barrister as and when the need arises. Oliver will be able to advise on a choice of suitable law firms, should the need arise.
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