Barristers predict an increase in public access work

Barristers predict an increase in public access work

Public access barristers are expecting the volume of work obtained directly from clients to increase over the next few years as a result of the public access scheme which allows consumers to use barristers directly, without needing to instruct a solicitor or other intermediary.

These findings are taken from a survey of public access barristers undertaken jointly by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and the Legal Services Board (LSB).

This research provides a detailed picture of the current provision of legal services through the public access scheme, perceptions about the operation of the current regulatory arrangements and of the impacts of recent reforms. Key findings include:

  • Just over half of the barristers registered on the public access scheme surveyed had undertaken up to five cases in the past year. While a relatively small proportion of barristers’ overall caseload, it has increased markedly over the past three years.
  • Public access is most commonly used in family, chancery, employment, commercial and general common law.
  • The barristers surveyed considered that:
    • there have been relatively modest benefits for consumers so far, with respect to widening choice, improving timeliness of access to services and reducing costs but the volume of public access work is expected to continue to increase over the next few years.
    • key barriers for consumers include lack of awareness of the scheme and the services that barristers are able to provide. The public access route is also unsuitable for any client who would be unable to fill the role normally provided by a solicitor in terms of conduct of litigation.
    • the regulatory framework is largely effective in protecting public access clients. Some suggested that further clarity is required within the public access guidance and the associated training requirements.

LSB Head of Research and Development Steve Brooker said:

“This joint research is an important stock take of where the public access scheme currently stands. While representing a relatively small proportion of a barristers’ caseload it is, nonetheless, growing. Benefits for consumers that are starting to emerge from this key market liberalisation measure – wider choice, improved timeliness of access to services and lower costs – are important and can be expected to grow as public access work grows.”

The research was undertaken by Pye Tait Consulting and took place during December 2015 and January 2016.

Terms and Conditions | Site Map | Privacy and Cookies

Copyright © 2020 Richard Nelson LLP and Murdochs. All rights reserved.
The Lawyers Defence Group is operated by Richard Nelson LLP, a Limited Liability Partnership authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and whose partnership number is OC357136 and Murdochs Solicitors, who are also authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and whose SRA number is 52683.
Please note that all advice, guidance, representation and assistance, legal or otherwise, is provided either by those firms or by appropriate referral to other suitably qualified persons. No advice, guidance, assistance, representation or other support is provided by or in the name of the Lawyers Defence Group.
For further details please refer to the terms and conditions for use of this web site and to the terms and conditions of the firms involved.
The professional rules governing our lawyers can be found at