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Direct Access Barrister

Members of the public may now go directly to a barrister without having to involve an instructing solicitor or other intermediary. In the past, clients could only come to the Bar for advice through an instructing solicitor but now companies, and members of the public can instruct a barrister directly through the 'public access scheme'. 

What are the advantages of direct access?

Direct or Public access is available in all types of work that barristers can do, except for work funded by legal aid. Jeremy conducts a range of work on a direct access or 'public access' basis, from motoring matters in the magistrates work , to highly complex cases where he often feels that the client would also be assisted by instructing a firm of solicitors.

The main advantages of instructing Jeremy directly are:

  • Jeremy has over 30 years experience of appearing in a range of cases and also sits as a Recorder of the Crown Court in both criminal and civil cases.
  • He is approachable and can often see clients within 48 hours or even discuss their issues on the telephone in an emergency.
  • He can plan a strategy for the case quickly, which may involve the instructing of specialised solicitors and/or counsel. In this way a team of experts can be assembled, often at a more reasonable cost than if the client approaches a major firm of solicitors in the first place.
  • He supervises a whole range of contentious and non contentious commercial work, having excellent relationships with a range of specialist solicitors and/or counsel who he has worked with in different cases both in the UK and in China.

Appointment of experts

Through his experience in a number of highly technical trading standards and health and safety cases, Jeremy has built up an informal panel of experts in a number of different fields. Through his academic work at Leeds University, he also has access to  a number of the world's leading experts in business process, computing and energy storage technology.

Jeremy also assists companies in improving their business process through better financial and stock control systems with other professionals and building links with consultants who are experienced in exporting and networking in China

Examples of Direct Access Work.

Representation before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and GMC.  Jeremy has represented a number of solicitors both in drafting submissions in response to allegations by SRA caseworkers, and also appearing before the SDT. Cases have involved serious breaches of the client account rules, conflicts, not acting in the best interests of clients, Green card fraud rules and boiler room cases.

Jeremy has also represented a number of Consultants facing investigation for breach of the fitness to practise rules of the GMC on a direct access basis. In a number of cases representations have resulted in the removal of conditions placed on practicing certificates, recommendation of a reprimand, or findings of reprimand and/or small financial penalties, often for cases of the utmost severity.

General commercial advice. Following a request to advise a company on establishing formal business links in China and the Middle East, Jeremy advised on a range of internal business process issues, and supervised the appointment of external commercial solicitors, accountants and supply chain point of sale consultants.

Jeremy is now advising a medium sized Law firm on a potential application to the SRA for ABS [Alternative Business Structure] approval for a new business venture. This may involve an application for a waiver from the 'associated practice' rule.

Director Disqualification.  Jeremy frequently advises company directors facing proceedings brought by the Secretary of State and has recently appeared in a public interest case involving the role of directors of a football club. He often works with a specialist legal process outsourcing firm who conduct major insolvency and other commercial cases. 

Civil Litigation.  Jeremy has recently agreed to act on behalf of a Consultant in a high profile case of medical negligence who required legal advice in unusual circumstances.  Jeremy was able to identify experienced Leading Counsel and instructing solicitors who were prepared to give advice on a case where the majority of expert practitioners declined to act due to professional conflicts of interest.

Driving and other offences in the magistrates court. As a great deal of Jeremy's trading standards cases are conducted in the magistrates courts around the country, he regularly appears on a direct access basis in driving cases ( OPL, driving whilst under the influence of drugs, speeding etc) and has also conducted other straightforward criminal cases where the client requires high quality private advice.

General Counsel.  In one major commercial case, Jeremy was instructed by an exisiting client to assist with the appointment of barristers, solicitors, accountants and other technical and IT experts. The case involved allegations of supply chain manipulation and counterfeiting.  Jeremy also advised on the building of a case management system that allowed remote access and note keeping on a huge dataset of disclosed material.

First Tier Tribunal: Tax  Jeremy has conducted appeals against assessments for income tax, including whether or not expenses were incurred 'wholly and exclusively' for trade and whether expenditure of £1m was private or personal, often in conjunction with a firm of Chartered Accountants.

The way forward

Why not give Jeremy a call on  0844 2722322 ? He is prepared to have a chat about your issue on the phone or in chambers ( this would not consitute legal advice until he has been formally instructed). He is also happy to put you in touch with existing clients who can tell you more about the range of services that are available and how it is to have Jeremy as your lawyer.

For more information.

The Bar Council have been promoting 'public access' for some time. Many chambers have realised that it is essential for their members to offer their services directly to the public, yet they have not yet established systems to deal with clients in the absence of instructing solicitors. St Pauls Chambers were one of the first chambers in the country to see the advantages of direct access work, so are experienced in talking to you about how this works in practice. Please call Jayne Drake the senior clerk at St Pauls who can assist.

For further information , click here to download the full Bar Council guidance on public access, dated March 2010.

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