How Direct Access Works
- Contact me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me a little bit about your problem, or 'phone my clerks on 020 7797 8600 to speak to me;
- I will contact you so that we can discuss your problem to see if I can help you and to assess whether your case is suitable for direct access;
- If so, I will ask you to send me the relevant papers so that I can estimate the cost. I will provide you with an estimate of my fees for doing the work and let you know when you can expect the work to be ready. If you agree the fees and the timescale, I will send you a standard form client care letter setting out the work I will do for you and the full terms of our relationship . You must sign this and return it to me.
- In the case of an advice or other document I will tell you when the work is ready and you must then pay me. Once I have received payment, you will be sent the document. In the case of fees for court appearances you will normally be expected to pay in full in advance.
- I cannot take a case which is funded by legal aid, unless I am instructed by a solicitor.
- If the matter goes further than the giving of advice, you must be able to deal with certain administrative tasks in order to help your case along without the help of another legal professional. For example, you must be able to gather together the papers and the evidence in support of your case that I will need in order to do the work that you ask me to do. You may also need to file documents at court (that is, submit documents such as expert reports, case summaries or witness statements – depending on the nature of the case) and correspond with the court and other parties (although I will be able to draft letters and other legal documents on your behalf). If you are not sure whether you will be able to assist with the various administrative tasks for whatever reason, it is worth considering if it would be better to have a solicitor assist you with your case.
Why is Direct Access Unsuitable in Some Cases?
Throughout the case, I remain under an ongoing duty to consider whether that case remains suitable for public access, and I must refuse to continue to act on a direct access basis if it is no longer suitable for me to do so.
If you want to read more about how direct access works and what is involved, click here for the Bar Standards Board's "Guidance for Lay Clients".