Preparing to instruct a direct access barrister Talk 1

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hello and welcome to this talk on the

public access scheme

my name's Declan o dempsey I'm a

barrister at Hostos chambers and in this

talk I'm going to be telling you a

little bit about the public access

scheme generally how it works but also

to show you how you can use those to

instruct a barrister directly and what

you can do to help yourself

get the best out of instructing a

barrister directly these tips will I

hope save you money and will help you to

present your case as well as can be done

so that your barrister can help you with

good advice or representation the public

access scheme allows you to instruct a

barrister directly whereas in the past

you needed to use a third party in order

to do this such as a solicitor the main

advantage of instructing about it

directly is that it may save you money

you're going to be paying for a

barrister and not a barrister and a


he still may need to assist in doing

some things for example something I'll

touch on later filing documents with the

court if your barrister is authorized to

conduct the litigation on your behalf

but then the barrister can carry out

those sorts of tasks they're not

difficult tasks to do and your barrister

can advise you on how to go about them

so even if your barrister is not

licensed to conduct litigation you can

still access their services directly

provided you're able and prepared to

carry out the work that a solicitor

would normally carry out it's worth

remembering the barristers are bound by

a code of conduct and in some cases this

may mean that your barrister recommends

that you instruct a solicitor this might

happen for example because of the

complexity of the case or because you

may need more assistance than the

barrister can provide a loan public

access scheme work is available for all

types of work the barristers can do

although there may be some restrictions

on the work where there is alternative

means of funding it available and your

barrister should talk to you about using

alternative means of funding your work

try considering first if it would be

better to have a solicitor to help you

with your case the pros are that you can

deal with your case with more confidence

knowing that the professionals have

control of all aspects of it the cons on

the other hand are other the instructing

a solicitor is an additional expense

that you may not think is worth having

if you know that you'll be able to do

all the things that a solicitor could do

only your barrister can advise you on

all of these tasks your barrister should

be clear with you that he or she won't

be able to take the case

in certain types of situation now some

of these are not obvious immediately so

for example it may not be appropriate

for a barrister to take a case under the

public access scheme because of the

emotional nature of the case that's the

situation in which it may be better to

have a solicitor and then the barrister

can bring a degree of objectivity to the

case which they may not be so able to do

if they're having to deal with the

highly emotive nature of the subject

matter of the case there's another

example a barrister may see that your

case is particularly complex or may take

the view that because of the type of

work that needs to be done you're not

going to be able to do it all it'll be

excessively difficult for you to do it

in these sorts of cases the barrister

should be clear with you as to the

reasons for suggesting a solicitor if

your barrister is not permitted to carry

out certain types of work they should be

clear with you about this as well you

can always discuss whether your case is

suitable for the public access scheme

and if you do this if you're not sure

about whether it is or not by contacting

a barrister about Clarke you should ask

for an initial view sometimes this can

be provided for free if the barrister

thinks that the case will benefit from

the involvement of the solicitor they'll

tell you at that stage but then they

tell you that at any stage because they

have to keep that issue under review at

all stages in order to help your case

long you're going to have to do certain

administrative tasks remember that will

normally be carried out by a solicitor

you'll have to do these without the help

of the legal professional of course your

barrister can advise you what you need

to do in relation to those tasks but one

of the things you'd need to be able to


is to gather the evidence together such

as the documents which support your case

or the ones which touch on your case

you'll need to gather the documents

which your barrister will need in order

to do the work that you've asked them to

do now it's sensible to start thinking

about this before looking for a

particular barrister and asking them to

take the case on to the public access

scheme and the reason for this is that

the better presented your case is at

that stage the more chance there is that

a barrister will be interested in taking

it on

so what can you do to assist yourself in

getting a barrister and in making sure

that you get your money's worth once

you've got your barrister well here are

some questions that you could ask

yourself have you written down your

version of events in the order in which

they happened can you do a timeline or

chronology it's worth doing this before

you get together with the barrister to

explain the case to the barrister that

way they can look at it in advance and

have a clearer idea of what you are

concerned about if you can do this it

will save you time and that probably

means it will save you money if you

can't do it or you don't do it then the

barrister has to do this work and they

can appropriately charge you for their

time in doing this have you put the

documents you may need to support your

case into a chronological order now what

I'm about to say may seem obvious if you

can buy a file from the station as a

ring binder or a legal arch file and

think about copying all original

documents that you've got what you think

have a bearing on your case I say copy

them because you should not give

originals to the barrister you're

approaching or who's representing you

they should not accept original

documents from you once you've got your

documents to get that you should get a

whole bunch and prepare them to put into

the file now you want to put them in in

chronological order simplest way of

doing this especially if there are a lot

of documents is to break down the

overall problem what's the biggest time

period that you're dealing with suppose

your case runs over a number of years it

would be sensible simply to quickly look

at each set of documents and note the


and put them into a pile representing

that year once you've done that go

through that year and put them into

piles representing the months and then

finally go through each month and put

them into date order put them all

together and you've then got a

chronological series of document now

that you've got your papers into

chronological order get holders and

dividers and mark the years or months as

appropriate on the dividers this means

that you can make sure you can see any

month by the divider in which the

documents fall this means that you and

your barrister will be able to get to

the relevant documents much more quickly

and therefore that will save the

barrister time it will save you time it

will also help to order your thoughts

it's also a good idea to put any

correspondence that's arrived from the

court or tribunal in one place you can

put them in date order and give them to

your barrister either in a separate file

or in a division in the file with the

other documents in it you can also put

the correspondence you've had with the

other side in the case since the case

started and put that in one place again

put it into chronological order now I

mentioned earlier you may need to file

documents at the cord this means making

sure that the court has received the

documents formally within the stipulated

time limits this will cover things like

expert reports formal documents known as

case summaries and documents such as

that witness statements will have to be

received by the court within timescales

they'll need to be filed with the court

in other words you'll need to be able to

correspond with the court and the other

parties in the case now if your

barrister can conduct litigation they

can do this for you on their headed note

paper however even if they are not

licensed to conduct litigation you can

ask them to prepare the text that you

then send to the court of the other

parties the barrister writes it you send

it out in your name they have to come to

the court of the other side from you if

you're not sure whether you'll be able

to assist the barrister with the various

administrative tasks for whatever reason

then it's worth considering again

whether you wouldn't be better off

having a solicitor to assist you with

your case on say a word or two about

your status during all this if your

barrister is not licensed to conduct

litigation if you take a legal case and

it's going to go to court or it's going

through a course of tribunal it's known

as a piece of litigation if your case is

a piece of litigation and if your

barrister is not authorized to conduct

it on your behalf then you're considered

as a litigant in person this means

someone who's bringing their own case

and representing themselves and you'll

be treated by the court and by the other

side for most purposes as though you

were acting without any legal assistance

your name appears in the court records

and all documents from the other parties

and the court will be sent directly to

you sometimes you can ask or arrange for

the court or the tribunal and the other

parties to copy documents to a third

party now in a future talk I'm going to

deal with the ways in which you can set

out your story in a chronological order

in a way which does not mean that you

have to spend hours and hours doing it

you very much