01 December 2011

BSB seeks to make it easier for public to instruct barristers directly

We are consulting on amendments to our Code of Conduct for barristers following a review of our public access rules.

Barristers are usually instructed by solicitors to act on behalf of their clients; however the public access scheme allows a barrister to be instructed directly by a member of the public without the need for a solicitor.

At present, the public access rules do not allow a client who may be eligible for public funding to instruct a public access barrister. This is one of the rules we seek to change. The consultation also suggests that barristers should have a duty to ensure that, before accepting public access instructions, the client is able to make an informed decision about whether to apply for legal aid or to proceed with public access representation.