Direct Access

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In appropriate cases Senate House Chambers offers Public Access to clients without the need to instruct a solicitor first

Under the Public Access rules, members of the public seeking legal advice in relation to either a specific piece of work or full representation in proceedings can instruct a barrister directly.

Full details of the scheme are available on the Bar Council’s website.

This may include advice, representation or a written opinion on a specific issue. We tailor our service by providing a suitably qualified and experienced barrister to meet your specific needs whilst ensuring that costs are kept to a minimum.

Such is the dramatic impact of government cuts to legal aid that few people will now qualify for funding in most private family law applications. We understand that careful management of the privately funded costs of proceedings is essential for public access clients. The members of our Public Access team are specialists in their areas of law, and the benefit of instructing us directly is that we can provide the support, advice and assistance to guide you through the legal process in a cost effective way. Our specially trained public access clerks are responsible for the efficient management of this important part of our business.

Our barristers cannot conduct litigation for you, unless they are specifically trained to do so. Litigation involves issuing applications at court, filing and serving documents such as statements and court bundles. However, our Public Access barristers can provide assistance and guidance drafting these documents.

In the majority of cases we charge a fixed fee for each piece of work undertaken, which is payable in advance and outlined in the Terms of Business sent to you when instructions have been confirmed.

The table below sets out an estimate of the range of fixed fees which vary depending upon the complexity of your matter and the seniority of the barrister you would like to instruct.

First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment/Dispute Resolution Appointment Final Hearing Final Hearing Refresher (subsequent days) Hourly rates / Conferences
£450 – £2,000 £850 – £5,000 £450 – £2,500 £125 – £350 per hour

The above fees are not inclusive of VAT, and the rates charged will depend on the matters such as the individual barrister’s level of experience and the issues in the case. These matter will be discussed with you before a fee is confirmed and agreed.
Any additional fees will be set out in the Terms of Business. An example of additional fees may include assistance with drafting some types of documents, completion of court forms or travel to a Court more than 40 miles outside the radius of Senate House Chambers.

As a rough guide, proceedings under the Children Act 1989 can take six to twelve months to resolve. This does not include possible appeals and there are exceptional cases were matters may take longer to conclude. We are obliged to make you aware that a barrister cannot undertake legal aid work under the Public Access Scheme unless a solicitor has instructed that individual. If you wish to obtain clarification as to whether you are eligible for legal aid before instructing us we would recommend that you consult a solicitor for the purpose of carrying out a legal aid eligibility check.

We would refer you to the Government’s online guidance for further information.

Prior to accepting instructions, it will be necessary for us to have an initial meeting with you in order to assess whether your case is suitable for the Public Access scheme.

To instruct a barrister, please contact Chambers either via e-mail on clerks@senatehousechambers.com or by telephone 01604 210 979. You will then be asked to provide a brief summary of your case setting out how we may be of assistance.

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