Who is eligible to practise as a direct access barrister?
Any barrister wishing to do direct access work must hold a full practising certificate, have undertaken and satisfactorily completed a Bar Standards Board-approved training course, notify the Professional Affairs Team of the Bar Council of their intention to undertake such work, and have insurance cover.
Those barristers with less than three years’ standing must, additionally, be supported by a “qualified person” to provide them with guidance and must keep a log of the public access cases they have dealt with. A “qualified person" for these purposes is “someone who is direct access-qualified; has been entitled to practise and has practised as a barrister or has been authorised to practise by another approved regulator for a period of at least six years in the previous eight years; made such practice their primary occupation; and been entitled to exercise a right of audience before every Court in relation to all proceedings”.
If after accepting direct instructions a barrister forms the view that circumstances are such that it would be in the best interests of the client or in the interests of justice for the lay client to instruct a solicitor or other professional client, the barrister must inform the client and withdraw from the case.