It is no longer necessary for a business or individual to ask a solicitor, patent or trade mark attorney or other professional intermediary to instruct a barrister on his or her behalf. It is still possible to do that, and, in many cases, it may be advantageous to do so, but there are now two major exceptions that allow members of the public to consult barristers directly.
The first exception is known as public access. Anybody may instruct a barrister who has undergone public access training under the Bar Standards Board’s Public Access Rules. I have discussed this exception in Public Access FAQ. I have undergone public access training and can, therefore, accept instructions on that basis.
The second exception is called licensed access. Businesses and individuals may apply to the Bar Standards Board for a licence to instruct any barrister under the Licensed Access Rules.
Whether you instruct me directly or through a solicitor, attorney or other intermediary will make no difference to the fee I will charge, the sort of work I do, my professional responsibilities or duty of care to you. There are some things that can be done without a solicitor such as advising you on the meaning and effect of a patent claim but there are many others such as infringement litigation or the sale of a business when you will need a law firm. Similarly, I can tell you the optimum legal protection for an intellectual asset but you will need an attorney to apply to the IPO or other intellectual property office for such protection. If it is clear that you need a solicitor, attorney or other service provider, and you do not already have one, I will help you find one. I will put my contacts, knowledge and experience at your disposal but the choice will always be yours.
My fees or charging basis will always be agreed in advance. The amount will take account of such factors as the difficulty of the case, the time involved and the value of the transaction. Wherever possible I will negotiate a flat fee or agree caps and milestones so that you can review and retain control of your expenditure. I regret that I do not accept instructions under a no-win, no-fee retainer but I can introduce you to litigation funders, insurers and lenders who may help you.
I have received very few complaints in my career and none that has been upheld by my regulator or the Legal Ombudsman but should you be dissatisfied with any aspect of my work or conduct towards you I will respond promptly. If you are still dissatisfied with my response you can take it up with my head of chambers, regulator or the Ombudsman. Like all barristers, I carry adequate professional indemnity cover.
Should you wish to discuss this further, call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 or drop me a line through my contact form.