Does A Barrister Need Special Training to Take Public Access Work?

One of the most frequently asked questions is if a barrister needs special training before undertaking public access work. Yes, barristers must undertake specific training before assuming the public access role. However, unlike in the recent past, where clients needed to consult and instruct barristers through solicitors, the public access scheme allows lay clients to interact with barristers without the aid of intermediaries. 

On the other hand, the public access tasks handled by barristers are quite challenging. Therefore all aspirants must get additional training to complement their degree, regardless of their area of specialization. But who is a barrister? And what training requirements do they need as public access practitioners? Take a look below as we explore these queries in detail. You can also visit Barrister Support Services, Inc. for more information about barristers.

Who Is a Barrister 

In simple language, a barrister is a specific type of lawyer that majors in advocacy and litigation roles in the common law. Unlike Solicitors, their close counterparts who often interact with clients directly in their line of work, barristers rarely tackle the client-based job in person. Similarly, they are usually the ones appointed as judges in the long run. That means they generally handle organizational and personal cases in various courts presented to them by solicitors.

What is a Public Access Work

The public access work, also called direct access, covered in the public access scheme was started in 2004 and proclaimed barristers as being liable to accessing the general instructions directly without the aid of a solicitor. It became subject to question the first time it was raised whether the public was well informed on such practices and if clients could subsequently differentiate the roles of a barrister. But over time, the public access rule was legalized officially by the Bar Standards Board as per the public interests and contained in the BBB handbook covered in the C119-C131 Code of Conduct.

Why Barristers Need Special Training Before a Public Access Work

Before undertaking public access work, a barrister must fully undertake public access training before carrying on the public access work. The training is designed to instill the proper knowledge and understanding for a public access barrister. The barrister must display a robust set of abilities in dealing with direct clients from the training undertaken. Only then can you be qualified for a waiver and register with the Bar Councils Records Office as a public access practitioner. 

The special public access training is specifically designed to equip the barrister with understanding the legal processes and regulatory requirements associated with the public access work and be better positioned to act in clients’ best interests by fully understanding and addressing their needs.

The training is also designed to equip the necessary skills needed in case management, such as file keeping and writing relevant letters in courtrooms, and help barristers know when it’s in the client’s best interest to withdraw from the case or refuse instructions altogether.

The course also enables the barrister to Interact with clients accordingly, whether by establishing initial relationships, coming up with befitting fees, or clarifying to the client the various roles of a barrister to decide if they will need a solicitor in specific cases.

For newly appointed public access barristers who have less than three years in standings, a more experienced barrister is required to work alongside, to offer directives on specific duties like the exercise of client’s rights, supply of legal services, and the undertaking of litigations. These particular barristers are also called ‘qualified persons’ (QP).

Certifications Requirements Before Public Access Work

Barristers must adhere fully to certain requirements before accepting public access instructions. The Bar Standards Board must approve your practitioner certificate for public access. Prior notification to the Records Office of the Bar Councils of your interests in taking on such roles must also be present. You must have Insurance cover regarding BSB guidelines. 

What is The Main Significance for Public Access 

Given that public access work doesn’t necessarily require the help of a solicitor, clients can pay less, excluding the additional costs of working with the solicitor or typical lawyers. Although the process cuts legal costs significantly, much work is left undone, generally reserved for solicitors. That means clients are obliged to take on roles like filing and document management, plus any additional litigation work in court. 

So, if you are an aspiring barrister, you must undertake special training and become a registered practitioner to gain access to public access and take instructions via public access.

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