Earlier this year, The Bar Council launched a brand new website which is designed to help members of the public gain access to a definitive list of barristers who they can hire for legal representation. The Direct Access Portal (DAP) gives consumers the opportunity to find a barrister directly, which will save them money in the long run.
The Traditional Solicitor Route
Traditionally, clients who need to find a barrister are initially required to visit a solicitor, who will then put them in touch with a barrister. Solicitors typically build good working relationships with a pool of barristers in a variety of fields. So whilst a solicitor will be able to hand-pick a barrister that they feel can best assist their client, this is not the most cost-effective approach. Clients need to pay for the solicitor’s time and then have the delay of waiting for communication with a barrister.
The new website completely simplifies the steps required to find a barrister by eradicating the need to visit a solicitor. This certainly doesn’t mean that solicitors have become defunct. There are a number of legal fields such as conveyancing or the writing of wills that are far more suited to the skills of a solicitor rather than a barrister.
Direct Access Portal
Since July 2004, the rules regarding public access to barristers were relaxed somewhat and now the Direct Access Portal makes it even easier for people to find a barrister directly.
The DAP is made up of thousands of barristers who are located in England and Wales. The barristers represent a full range of legal fields including:
- family matters
- property law
- employment law
- road traffic offences
It is possible to engage a barrister for all or only certain aspects of your case – these could be:
- Drafting documents for court
- Representing you in court
- Give you advice on your chances of success
Fully Qualified Direct Access Barristers
All barristers that are found on the DAP have had to go through extensive training to be listed on the website. They will need to be fully qualified and have obtained Direct Access training which is regulated by the Bar Standards Board. All barristers registered on the DAP need to have told the Bar Council that they are working as a direct access barrister and they will all hold valid insurance which protects the client if something goes wrong.
Mediators and Arbitrators
The Direct Access Portal also lists the services of mediators and arbitrators. These allow alternatives to dispute resolution without visiting the courts and provide further cost-saving options. Some of the mediators and arbitrators on the DAP are also barristers, but all must provide evidence of valid Alternative Dispute Resolution qualifications before being allowed to appear on the website.
Consumers in 2016 have become accustomed to a fast-paced efficient world where we can gain access to services as and when we need them. The Direct Access Portal’s way to find a barrister is simply the latest innovation that clients have proven that there is a demand for.
If you would like to find out more about how current IT technology can revolutionise the efficiency levels of your chambers’ operations, then call us today to find out how we can help you.