Instructing us

Solicitors & other professional clients

The following may instruct barristers either on behalf of clients or on their own account in any matter for all types of work:

  • Solicitors
  • Other authorised litigators
  • Parliamentary agents, patent agents, trademark agents and notaries
  • European Lawyers registered with the Law Society
  • Employed barristers and or employed European Lawyers registered with the Bar Council
  • Legal Advice Centres designated by the Bar Council

The first point of contact is our Clerking Team. Our highly skilled and dedicated team of clerks has many years of experience in advising as to the suitability, experience, availability and cost of instructing members of Monckton Chambers.

In-house lawyers

In-house lawyers can also instruct a barrister to undertake work on behalf of their company or organisation. Instructing the Bar direct can provide a cost-effective way of obtaining specialist advice and advocacy services.

Again the first point of contact is our Clerking Team. Our clerks are particularly experienced in this area: they understand the environment in which you operate and the commercial pressures you face. Many of Chambers’ clients now instruct directly via the “in-house” route.

Foreign lawyers

Barristers can receive instructions directly from foreign lawyers based outside the UK.

Private individuals & companies

Barristers can now accept direct instructions from private individuals and companies, without the need to go through a solicitor. There are two ways in which a barrister may be instructed directly.

(i) Licensed access

Licensed Access enables organisations and individuals with appropriate experience and expertise to use the specialist advice and advocacy services of barristers without the intervention of a solicitor, as the Bar recognises that there are many areas of work in which clients face unnecessary costs in instructing both solicitors and barristers.

The scheme operates through a licensing system run by the Access to the Bar Standards Board and applications for a licence to instruct barristers directly can be made to the Bar Council. Once a licence has been granted, a copy should then be provided with each set of instructions sent.

A number of organisations have been pre-approved by the Bar Standards Board and if you are a member of one of these organisations you will only need to provide confirmation of your membership when sending instructions. For the list of pre-approved organisations, please visit the Bar Standards Board website and scroll down to ‘List of Licensed Access Licensees”.

As a Licensed Access instructor, you will be required to certify in writing that you have completed a full anti-money laundering check on your client. A pro forma letter will be sent to you for completion to accompany instructions when sent.

(ii)  Direct access

“Public Access” is the term for the circumstances in which a barrister may be instructed directly. You should be aware of the key differences between a barrister and a solicitor, as barristers are not permitted to offer some of the services that are provided by solicitors.

Broadly, barristers are instructed when:

  • Expert legal advice is required
  • Documents need to be drafted and/or
  • Representation at a court or tribunal is required

For full details of what barristers can and cannot offer, as well as the key differences between barristers and solicitors, please visit the Bar Council website.

I want to instruct a barrister under the Public Access rules: What do I need to do?

Contact needs to be established by telephoning the Clerks’ Room and asking to speak to the Senior Clerk. They will be able to tell you what you need to do next. Please note that not all types of work are permitted under the Public Access scheme. Barristers cannot undertake the following types of work under Public Access:

  • Criminal work
  • Family work
  • Immigration work

A barrister can act in all other areas, but only if he or she has:

  • At least 3 years’ standing and have completed the necessary Public Access training as designated by the Bar Standards Board; or
  • Received a Bar Standards Board waiver for the training because he or she has previously been a solicitor and has had regular contact with clients

Once a suitable barrister has been identified, written instructions will need to be sent to the Senior Clerk or Deputy Senior Clerk explaining exactly the nature of the work that you wish the barrister to carry out for you. You are also required by law to provide proof of identity, which can take a variety of forms:

  • If you are an individual, you are required to produce your passport or national identity card in person, together with a utility bill.
  • If you represent a company, you will be required to produce a certified copy of a company registration document.

Copies of all documents will be made and kept on file for 5 years. Upon receipt of your instructions the barrister will decide whether your case is suitable for Public Access. You may be charged for this. If the case is acceptable, the full terms upon which the barrister is prepared to accept the case will be sent to you by the clerk in the form of a client care letter. If your case is not acceptable for Public Access the barrister will tell you so and, if you wish, the clerk will recommend an appropriate solicitor for you to instruct.