Licensed access (direct access to barristers)
The Bar Council ( England and Wales ) has approved a licensing system – Licensed Access (previously known as BarDIRECT) – to allow ACCA practitioners direct professional access to barristers. The Faculty of Advocates ( Scotland ) has designated ACCA as a recognised professional body for the same purpose. You may now instruct counsel directly, without the need for a solicitor, for hearings before the General Commissioners, Special Commissioners and VAT Tribunals. This can result in cheaper and quicker advice or representation and a clearer understanding between practitioners and the barristers or advocates.
In addition, the scheme allows you to instruct barristers to act on appeals to the High Court and above when they have acted for the client before the Special or General Commissioners or before the VAT and Duties Tribunal. You still may not, however, have direct access to barristers or advocates for personal legal matters.
Practitioners must contact the barrister's or advocate's clerk to check availability and obtain a fee quote. The clerk should also be told what information will be forwarded to the barrister or advocate. Recommendation by solicitors or professional colleagues is the most common means of choosing a barrister or advocate. Alternatively, you can view a list of barristers at The Bar Council or advocates at The Faculty of Advocates websites.