Public Access

Public Access allows you to instruct a barrister to represent you in a legal dispute, or to provide legal advice directly to you, without the need to be referred by a solicitor or third party. The process provides an additional route to the very best legal advice and representation.

The Public Access Rules came into force in 2004 allowing individuals, in many circumstances, to instruct a barrister directly for advice and representation in legal matters. Public Access accredited barristers still receive instructions from solicitors’ firms and are also able to assist you in deciding whether or not your case requires a solicitor. They can give you this advice at no cost and where your interests would be best served instructing a solicitor, we will always fulfil our professional obligation to inform you of this.

Where your case does not require a solicitor, a public access barrister will be able to represent you directly, including drafting legal documents, court forms and letters and representing you in court.


In the past it was necessary for clients to use a solicitor or other third party in order to instruct a barrister, but now the Public Access Scheme allows members of the public to instruct a barrister directly.

We have made the Public Access process as simple and straight forward for you as possible. In order to make an initial enquiry, please contact us on 0115 941 8851 or email us.

To help you with your enquiry, we will ask you for the following information:
Your name and contact information
The type of case which you need assistance with
Whether you need advice or representation at a Court hearing

If your case is not suitable for a public access barrister we will tell you as quickly as possible, without charge and explain why.

Once you have made an initial enquiry and we have a suitable barrister to assist you, your barrister will need to see documents relating to your case. This may be correspondence, emails, statements, plans, photographs etc.

Please note that it is very important that any documents sent to Chambers must be copies. Barristers do not have the same facilities for storing files as solicitors and the Bar Council rules by which we must act do not oblige a barrister to retain documents. In exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to provide copies, please contact us and we will assist with making arrangements for safe delivery and return.

The main advantage of the Public Access is cost. Instructing a barrister directly is often around 30% cheaper than going via a solicitor, as you are not paying for both your solicitor and your barrister, so cost savings are a big advantage to using the public access service.

Another advantage is speed. If you require advice urgently, it may be quicker to use a barrister directly rather than approach a solicitor. All KCH Garden Square barristers are self employed and often have some flexibility if the need for an urgent advice comes in.

The public access process also offers you more control. A solicitor will do all the work that is necessary on a case and charge you accordingly. Under the public access process, you can instruct a barrister to do as much or as little as you wish, from one opinion on your cases’ prospects to representation in Court. You will only ever be charged for the work you ask them to do, at a fee which is agreed by you in advance.

KCH Garden Square has a large number of Barristers who are able to receive Public Access instructions in the following areas of law:

Criminal Law (where it is privately paid)
Regulatory Law
Professional Discipline matters
Road Traffic Offences
Police Discipline
Courts Martial
Family Law
Matrimonial Law

KCH Garden Square also offers trained mediators to assist you where mediation or other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution are the most appropriate way for your case to be dealt with.

Our barristers can provide a number of services, including:

Advisory work – advice on your case and prospects of success
Drafting – a barrister can draft letters, legal documents or contracts
Representation – barristers can represent you and argue your case in Court

Most areas of law are now suitable for Public Access. We offer Public Access in the following practice areas, depending on availability and the suitability of cases:

– Family Law including financial cases

– Civil law

– Criminal Law

It may be that cases which require a high level of litigation would be better suited to involving a Solicitor, but once we have received your papers you will be advised by us in the early stages whether your case is suitable for Public Access or not.

You will receive an efficient, transparent and professional service from our barristers together with the help from our clerks to make sure you receive the support and guidance you need.

KCH Garden Square aims to be transparent & flexible in terms of our pricing structure. The cost of a public access case will depends on a number of factors, from the type of work you require, the seniority of your chosen barrister and the duration of your hearing to the length of time required for the Barrister to prepare and the amount of documentation involved.

Our barristers’ rates for privately funded paperwork generally range from £125 to £350 per hour (plus VAT for those Counsel who are VAT registered), depending on the level of experience and expertise of Counsel.

For hearings we typically agree a fixed rate for attendance or use a brief fee and refresher pricing model for hearings due to last a number of days, as we appreciate our clients often prefer the certainty of a fixed fee.

We will always provide you with a clear quotation for handling your case and we will never complete any work unless you have agreed the relevant costs to do so. You will be asked to pay in advance and you will never be charged for work that you have not already agreed to.

It can be difficult to provide an exact quotation before we have all the information from you and we will always do what we can to assist if you are working to a budget. We have however prepared indicative fees, available below. Please note that our indicative fees are subject to the addition of VAT for those Counsel who are VAT registered.

Family (Private Law)

Family (Finance)


Crime (Magistrates Court)

If you are eligible for legal aid or have already been granted legal aid, barristers cannot currently represent you unless they have been instructed by a solicitor.

You can see if you are eligible for legal aid in civil matters you can visit the Legal Aid Agency website here or for criminal cases, click here.

To find out how we can assist you, please either call us on 0115 9418851, email us or use our Contact page.

To help us quickly find the right barrister available to help you with your case, we will require the following information:

  • Your name and either a contact number or email address
  • Issue you would like to be resolved
  • Your hearing date & location if you have one, or the date by which advice is required
  • Stage of Proceedings (a most recent order is helpful)

The Bar Council explanation of What Barristers Do

The Bar Council’s Public Access website

The Bar Standards Board’s Rules relating to Public Access

The Bar Standards Board’s Public Access Guidance for Lay Clients

Meet the Public Access Team

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