What are the advantages of the direct access scheme?

The main advantage of the direct access scheme is that it could potentially save you money, since you would be paying for a barrister only instead of the barrister and a solicitor. It may also speed things up.

Is my case suitable for direct access?

Direct access is available for all types of work that barristers can do. You should however consider whether it would be better to have a solicitor to assist with your case in the first instance. Some cases may not be suitable for public access because of their commercial nature, because they are particularly complex will cause the type of work that needs to be done in order to prepare the case would be difficult for you and may not be able to be done by a barrister. If you are not sure whether your case would be suitable for public access, you can contact me or my clerk and seek an initial view. If it is considered that your case would benefit from the involvement of a solicitor then you will be advised of this.
You may need to be able to deal with certain administrative tasks yourself in order to help your case along, without the help of another legal professional. For example, you may need to be together together the papers on the evidence in support of your case that the barrister will need in order to do the work that you ask them to do. You may also need to file documents court.

Why should I instruct you?

I have been in practice for 40 years at Brick Court Chambers in London, widely reckoned to be the foremost set of civil and commercial Chambers in the country. In the course of my practice I have been involved in a considerable variety and number of significant cases (more details on the Brick Court Chambers website). My aim is to combine a positive and down-to-earth approach with sound judgment and careful legal analysis, a good relationship with clients, and clear and confident advocacy, drawing on my wealth of experience to assess the court or tribunal in order carry it with me. I work quickly and effectively, and make a point of early response and ready accessibility at all times, whatever my workload.
If I take on your case I will give you an estimate for the work I anticipate doing, as well as how long it will take, and I will stick to this. Where, after initial evaluation, I consider that a case is one which should be dealt with by another specialist Counsel, and/or appropriate solicitors I am well-placed to make appropriate recommendations and introductions.
I may also be able to assist with obtaining third-party funding for your case.

What type of work do you do?

The main focus of my current practice is on banking, insurance, shipping, commercial arbitration and international and domestic trade and business, restitution/commercial fraud and constructive trusts. Professional negligence is another field in which I practice, and for which I have been commended in the Legal 500 in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.  I also have experience of competition and restraint of trade, professional disciplinary tribunals, as well as employment and discrimination, and property disputes. I have represented clients in a number of commercial and professional negligence mediations, and has sat as arbitrator in LMAA, LCIA and other forms of arbitration. I am a CEDR trained mediator, and have also acted as Counsel in a number of mediations.

What types of direct access work have you done?

Everything from neighbour disputes to all kinds of commercial/business disputes, including professional negligence and disputes with banks and insurers.”

What are you able to do when you are directly instructed?

I can advise you about the strength of your case and how best to deal with it. This can be at a meeting, face-to-face, by e-mail, or by telephone.

I can draft letters before action and documents for you to use in proceedings such as statements of case and witness statements.

I can deal directly with the other side either directly or through its legal representatives.

I can also conduct negotiations on your behalf.

I can advise on and draft documents such as contracts.

I can appear to represent you at court or in a mediation or arbitration.

I can negotiate directly with the other side for you.I am licensed for the conduct of litigation and in exceptional circumstances I can deal directly with the court or gather evidence in exactly the same way that a solicitor would.

Are there any restrictions on what you can do?

There are normally restrictions on certain types of work usually done by a solicitor, such as issuing proceedings and applications, serving documents and gathering evidence. However, as above, I am licensed to do this kind of administrative work but would not normally do so. It may either be done by yourself if you are able to, or arrangements can be made for paralegals to do it for you, under my guidance.
I cannot hold money for you, though arrangements can be made for it to be held in an authorised account with an organisation known as Bar Direct.

In what circumstances would you not accept direct instructions?

There may be occasions when I do not feel able to do so because I consider that the involvement of solicitor will be in your best interests, or because existing work will not enable me to devote sufficient time and attention to your case.

How do I contact you?

E-mail me here at Brick Court Chambers or telephone me on
020 7379 3550 and one of my clerks (Luke or Jo) will put you straight through to me if I am available, or arrange for me to call you back, which I will aim to do promptly and certainly on the same day.

If you wish you can write to me or my clerks at:

Brick Court Chambers,
7/8 Essex Street,
London WC2R 3LD.
Tel: 020 7379 3550

Do you only work in London?

Although most of my work is in London, I am prepared to work anywhere in the UK or abroad. This would of course involve travelling time, travelling and possibly accommodation expenses, so that it might be unduly expensive to instruct me to appear in court a long way away, rather than local lawyers. If the work is simply advisory or involves drafting this will of course not apply.

What are your charges?

My fees will vary depending on the nature of the work and the amount in issue. In some circumstances or example if you have limited resources, this will be taken into account. My hourly rates are well below those charged by litigation partners in most London firms, especially those in the city or the West End. If you instruct me you can be sure that only I will be doing the work, rather than assistant solicitors or trainees. If you wish I my clerk can quote you an hourly rate or a fixed sum for different stages of the work, or even the whole case. Occasionally, where the scope of the work is uncertain, It will only be possible to give an estimate. Fees will normally need to be paid before the work is done.

Is it more cost effective to instruct you directly or through a solicitor?

Because barristers’ overheads are less than solicitors we have traditionally been able to charge lower hourly rates than comparably experienced solicitors. Often much of the work that would be done by a solicitor, such as photo-copying and collating documents you will be able to do yourself. Some solicitors, particularly large firms, engage more than one person on a case as well as instructing a barrister, and clients pay unnecessarily for this duplication. Some people will prefer to have all the work, however mundane, done by a professional, in which case they may be better off using a solicitor. Another option is to engage a paralegal to carry out some of the administrative or conduct of litigation work which I cannot do and you would prefer not to do.

Do I instruct you or your chambers?

I, like all practising barristers, work independently rather than in partnership. Members of chambers such as mine pool expenses and provide practical and professional assistance to each other. If I were, for instance, double booked I would normally suggest that someone from my chambers cover that work. The client would not have to agree to that but if they did they would enter into a separate agreement with the other barrister. Also because most of my clients pay legal fees out of their own pockets, rather than from a bottomless corporate fund, I am conscious of the need to control and give meaningful information about costs.
The Bar Standards Board has advised barristers not to accept work directly from the public on a no win/no fee (conditional fee) basis. Only in a case where I felt there was a compelling reason, such as very poor person who had a strong claim against a large corporation, would I depart from that advice. However, I may be able to help you arrange for third-party funding. Some third-party funders are prepared to take the risk of the case in return for a proportion of the proceeds if successful.

What if I am eligible for legal aid?

At the moment legal aid or public funding is not available for direct access to barristers, so if you hope to be funded that way you should approach a solicitor. In certain circumstances you may be eligible for legal aid but may prefer to instruct me directly anyway.

Are you able to get any publicity for my claim?

I can only refer to your case by name and if you agree. This would normally be for the purposes of this site or a legal article.

What other information might I need?

The Bar Council has an informative website, which sets out what barristers and solicitors both do, please click on the following link,
The Bar Council 

Peter Irvin