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