Instructing a Barrister

Instructing a barrister at an early stage can help resolve a problem quickly and efficiently, often without going anywhere near the door of a court. But if the dispute continues barristers have the advocacy skills to represent their client’s best interests, whether in court or a tribunal, or at an arbitration or mediation. Recent rule changes to the way in which barristers work mean that the Bar is more accessible than ever.
Barristers are often more cost effective to instruct than Solicitors as they do not have the same overheads. If you are instructing a Barrister via Direct Access you will often pay in advance for one piece of discreet work and so you will not face an elephantine bill at the end of the month. Remember to arrange fees in advance with your chosen Barrister’s clerk.
Who regulates barristers?
The Bar Standards Board is also known as the BSB.

The BSB is responsible for regulating barristers, meaning that it sets the standards of behaviour expected from barristers, and can take action where it needs to if those standards aren’t being met.

Once they have been called to the bar all barristers have to follow the BSB’s Handbook . This is the case regardless of where they work, or the area of law that they specialise in.
How are you protected if you use a barrister?
The Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook sets down how barristers are expected to behave towards you. If you are the client of a solicitor but they have appointed a barrister to work on your case, the barrister still has to behave in the right way towards you.
All self-employed barristers must have professional indemnity insurance.

If you are the client of a barrister and feel unhappy with the way things are going with your barrister don’t be afraid to speak up about it.

If you are instructing the barrister directly then you should email them or call to say exactly what you’re not happy with. If they are part of a chambers, you can contact the barrister through their address.

If your solicitor or another lawyer has arranged for the barrister to work on your case you may want to contact the solicitor as well as the barrister to try and get things sorted out.

If this doesn’t work and you’re still not happy with the barrister you have the right to make a formal complaint to the barrister. This gives them a chance to put things right for you if possible. You might prefer to do this in writing to the barrister, but however you contact them make it clear that you are making a formal complaint to them.