Things to Know

There are some additional points that you should know about John's practice under direct public access. These are:-

(a) John can accept public access work under conditional fee agreements - this means that in an appropriate case John will consider taking on your case or matter, or advising you and helping you with your problem, on a “no win no fee basis” if it involves a full legal dispute which results or is likely to result in litigation. Not every case is suitable for a conditional fee agreement, and John will have to carefully consider your case before agreeing to proceed on a conditional fee agreement basis. There are many issues that arise on a conditional fee agreement, such as whether or not you already have any insurance that would cover you for your legal costs or whether it would be appropriate for you to try and obtain litigation insurance to cover your future legal costs, whether you might be eligible for public funding (i.e. legal aid), and what kind of conditional fee agreement would be appropriate because there is more than one kind of CFA. Generally, CFAs are there to help those who have a good case with good prospects of success but who for whatever reason are likely to have difficulty in funding their case themselves from their own financial resources, and who cannot obtain legal aid;

(b) John cannot accept direct public access work under public funding (i.e. legal aid). This is because of the way the legal aid system operates. Public funding is only authorised to firms of solicitors who have been given "franchises" by the Legal Services Commission (the old Legal Aid Board). Barristers have never been given "franchises" by the Legal Services Commission because traditionally barristers have never had direct access to the public. A system has not yet been created that would allow barristers acting under Direct Public Access to take on cases that are funded through legal aid. The present system of “franchises” is very complex and onerous for solicitors to satisfy. There are probably not many barristers who would want to take it on. It is possible that in the future barristers will be awarded "franchises" by the Legal Services Commission, but that may be a long way off and will probably need legislation in Parliament. However, if it appears that you may be eligible for public funding/legal aid, John can suggest an appropriate solicitor or firm of solicitors with a legal aid "franchise" who can help you, in which case that solicitor can instruct John as your barrister if you wish;

(c) if you decide to instruct John as your barrister on a direct access basis, you will be entering into a legally binding and enforceable contract with him for the provision of legal services by him, just as you would a solicitor. This means that John will have contractual obligations to you and you will have contractual obligations to him. The professional relationship will be a serious one, and you must treat it seriously;

(d) John is happy to accept instructions from clients anywhere within England and Wales, and this may need discussion and agreement about travelling costs and possibly accommodation costs if John has to attend court hearings in locations that are far away from his home base;

(e) before you meet John to discuss your case and to allow him to decide whether it is appropriate for him to accept your instructions on a direct access basis, it is advisable for you to make sure that you have done the following:-