Public access explained

Jane Sisson-Pell, Family Law Barrister

In 2013, the government withdrew funding for legal aid in all but a few family cases. As a result, separating couples look 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.

For more information about how the public access scheme can work for you read the Bar Council’s Public Access Guidance for Lay Clients

For more information about public access barristers visit

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.

  • Retain control of your case
  • Pay as you go
  • Benefit from reduced fees
  • Receive support, throughout

Some examples of work barristers can do on your behalf:

Barristers provide expert legal advice on the merits of your case, represent you at court and help you with the next steps.

In addition to representation, 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.

Barristers can help you by preparing your applications and provide guidance on how to get these to the court.

Examples of work barristers cannot undertake on your behalf

Barristers are not authorised to issue proceedings or applications.

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 on your behalf, to be sent by you.

Barristers cannot take responsibility for the handling of clients’ affairs or of clients’ money.

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