Barristers – instruction from Members

Frequently Asked Questions from ATT and CIOT Members

Q: Are members of the ATT or CIOT able to instruct a barrister directly or is it necessary to use the services of a solicitor?

A: In certain circumstances a member may give instructions direct to barristers without using the services of a solicitor by a method called licensed access. This replaced BarDIRECT and Direct Professional Access. It is a system whereby organisations or individuals who have expertise in particular areas of the law can apply to instruct barristers directly in those areas either on their own affairs or on behalf of their clients. The license can cover advice or representation or both. Under this scheme, any CIOT or ATT member can instruct any barrister as they are deemed to have licensed access by virtue of their membership. Before accepting the instructions, the barrister will need to satisfy themselves that the instructions are given in accordance with the license granted by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) by a person entitled by that license to give those instructions. On occasions a barrister may ask for a copy of the license issued by the BSB. Members of the professional associations listed in the first Schedule to the BSB’s Licensed Access Regulations are deemed to be what is termed “authorised licensed access clients”,  so CIOT or ATT members will not have a copy of a license and just need to refer the barrister they are instructing to the above regulations as evidence of their authority to instruct them.

Further guidance and full details of the licensed access rules can be found on the Bar Council website.

In addition, there are a select number of barristers who are within the public access scheme and who can take instructions from any member of the public but there are restrictions on the terms of these instructions.  For further details, visit the Bar Council website.