Public access explained

Jane Sisson-Pell, Family Law Barrister

With the withdrawal of legal aid in all but a few family law cases, separating couples are looking for innovative ways to fund their legal advice and representation. One such way is to use the services of a public access barrister (also known as a direct access barrister).
Anyone can contact a public access barrister directly for expert legal advice and representation because there is now no need to instruct a solicitor as well. Already, over a third of all practising barristers have been authorised to undertake public access work.

What are the advantages of using the public access scheme?

You manage your own case on a day-to-day basis, taking advice as and when you need it. The more proactive you are, the lower your legal costs will be. You have absolute certainty about your legal fees. Each stage of the barrister’s work is agreed in advance and in writing.

Some examples of work barristers can do on your behalf:

Barristers provide legal advice on the merits of your case, represent you at court and help you with the next steps. They draft letters, position statements and witness statements in child arrangement cases. In financial proceedings, they draft the statement of issues, questionnaires, chronologies, schedules of assets and case summaries.

Examples of work barristers cannot undertake on your behalf

Barristers cannot issue proceedings or issue any applications. They can prepare them for you and you can email them to the court. Barristers cannot instruct an expert witness on your behalf although they can advise you on the choice of a suitable expert and they can draft a letter of instruction, which you can then send to the expert as a letter from you. Barristers cannot take responsibility for the handling of clients’ affairs or of clients’ money. For more information about public access barristers visit

Ready to get started?

You will be fully supported and in control of your case at every stage.

Jane is authorised to practise by the Bar Council and is regulated by the Bar Standards Board. She has a right of audience in every court in England and Wales. Jane can be contacted via the Bar Council Public Access Register.

For legal advice, get in touch for a quick quote:

T: 01484 660124
M: 07881 905 139