How to instruct a Direct Access Barrister: What is a Barristers’ clerk?

If you are looking to instruct a Direct Access barrister, you will first need to contact a barristers’ clerk – usually a member of a larger team of clerks. This team takes responsibility for administration within chambers (the barristers’ place of work) – keeping diaries up-to-date, calculating and negotiating fees for work carried out and ensuring every member is informed of their commitments.

Whatever your enquiry, when you contact Barrister For Me one of our friendly, helpful clerks will do their utmost to provide you with an efficient service. Once a clerk has either spoken with you, or received your Public Access Enquiry Form from our website, they will contact you in an attempt to drill down into which service you require.

Should you speak to a clerk, they will generally ask you for a short email summarising your instruction, so that it can then be forwarded on directly to the barrister.

Discussing your case: Why do you need a Barrister?

A clerk will have the knowledge and experience to be able to guide you to the barrister within chambers best suited to your case.

It may be that you require a barrister’s advice, or representation at a hearing. At this stage, a clerk will look to identify which barrister can best assist you.

Whilst reviewing a barrister’s availability a clerk will discuss with you the choice of which barristers are available, noting specialisms or any specific time scales, and where necessary provisionally booking time in the barrister’s diary.

Requesting documents from you.

A clerk will then request what are known as case papers from you. Case papers are defined as the papers that evidence your claim. If you are already involved in proceedings, it is crucial for a copy of any previously made Court orders or drafted documents to be sent to chambers. Once received, these papers will be put before a barrister.

Quoting and agreeing a fee.

A clerk, having received your case papers, and having spoken with a Barrister about them, will contact you to agree the fee for the service you require.

Once the fee is agreed, payment methods will be discussed, and a clerk will send you your Public Access Contract. At this stage a clerk will also request a copy of some photographic identification from you.

What is a Public Access Contract?

A clerk will send you your Public Access Contract. This contract is legally binding, and provides you with a written document detailing the work the Barrister will undertake and their terms and conditions for this.

Making payment.

Once you have received your Public Access Contract, and agreed the contents, a clerk will inform you of which payment methods are accepted, (generally either a bank transfer, or chip and pin payment – by phone if necessary). For your first payment, there will be an additional £25 plus VAT administration fee added to the balance owed.

Payment of the Barrister’s fees constitutes your agreement in terms of the contract.

The next steps.

Once payment has been made, the clerk will inform the Barrister, confirm any provisional booking into the Barrister’s diary, and instruct them to start working on your file.

Should you have any further questions, any of our clerks will be happy to help you. You can contact them directly by telephone on 01273 810011 or by email at

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