How do I instruct a barrister?

25. Try to clarify in your own mind the nature of your problem and what it is that you want the barrister to do. Telephone the Senior Clerk or Practice Manager of the set of Chambers where the barrister works and tell them that you wish to instruct the barrister directly. They will tell you what to do next.

26. Alternatively, if the barrister works by themselves as a sole practitioner, ie is not a member of a set of Chambers, you should contact the barrister’s place of work. You will have to explain that you wish to instruct the barrister directly and to explain the nature of the work which you wish the barrister to undertake for you. The barrister may want you to send you some further documents or alternatively may decide that the most appropriate option would be to meet and decide on the best way forward.

Proof of your identity

27. In some circumstances, the barrister will be required by law to carry out certain identification procedures. These must be followed as soon as reasonably practicable after you have first made contact with the barrister and it is likely that this will happen after you make the initial contact described above. Whether these procedures apply and, if so, how they should be followed, need to be considered by the barrister when you first make contact.

28. Where the procedure applies, the barrister will require satisfactory evidence of your identity – that is, proof of your name, date of birth and current address. The type of evidence required will depend on the circumstances. For example: For more information contact: the Professional Practice Team on 020 7611 1444 6 a) If you are acting as an individual, you may be required to produce in person your current passport or other national identity card or a new form of driving licence (with a photograph) together with a recent utility bill, or bank or building society statement. b) If you are acting on behalf of a company, you will need to produce a certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation, the latest accounts filed at Companies House and evidence that you are authorised to act on behalf of the company.

29. To carry out the procedures properly, the barrister may well have to have a meeting with you. You will be told what to bring to that meeting. The barrister is required to take copies of the documents you bring and to retain those copies for 5 years. 

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