Direct Professional Access
The Bar of Northern Ireland provides direct access to barristers for Professional Bodies which have been approved by the Bar Council.
What is Direct Professional Access?
Barristers can provide specialist legal advice directly to certain Professional Bodies without the need for a solicitor intermediary, reducing costs and saving time. For example, if you have a planning law query or need advice and assistance drafting regulations, working directly with a barrister who is an expert in that area and flexible in their working practices is likely to be more cost-effective.
Who has Direct Professional Access?
Members of certain Professional Bodies have been approved by the Bar Council for Direct Professional Access and may brief Counsel directly in non-contentious matters.
The Royal Town Planning Institute
The Institute of Civil Engineers
Faculty of Actuaries
The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants
Association of Authorised Public Accountants
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
The Chartered Insurance Institute
Institute of Chemical Engineers
The British Institute of Architectural Technology
Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland
The Royal Society of Ulster Architects
Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland
The Institution of Electrical Engineers
Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters
The Chartered Institute of Taxation
Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
The Chartered Institute of Housing
The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management
Association of Taxation Technicians
The Information Commissioner’s Office
In using Direct Professional Access, the fundamental features which must always be noted are the best interests and the well-being of the client. If, for example, a barrister concludes that the interests of the client are best served by the involvement of a solicitor, then a solicitor must be retained by the member of the professional body who had originally sought to use Direct Professional Access.
Instructing a Barrister through Direct Professional Access
When asked to provide written advice a barrister should be sent adequate instructions. These instructions should include background details of the nature of the issue and the advice required. Solicitors will be familiar with the steps involved in briefing a barrister to appear in Court. Other professionals wishing to instruct to appear before a tribunal should send instructions which will include a case introduction, witness statements and all other material documentation.
In all circumstances a pre-hearing consultation should be arranged to ensure that the case issues can be fully discussed.