The Legal Services Board today approved rule changes that will allow barristers to deal directly with clients in areas eligible for legal aid and for barristers of under three years’ call to be directly accessible to clients.
The Bar Standards Board (BSB) said it is strengthening the training that all public access barristers are required to undertake.
The Bar Council welcomed the changes, which will allow barristers to take instructions from clients who may be eligible for public funding but have decided not to take up this option.
Prohibition on accepting cases that may be eligible for legal aid will be removed from Monday.
Restrictions on barristers of less than three years’ standing will be removed with the creation of a new training regime due to be in place by autumn.
BSB chair Lady Deech said: ‘These changes will make direct access to justice easier by allowing more clients to go straight to a barrister.
‘Also, allowing junior barristers to undertake public access work will greatly improve consumer choice and harness the energy, expertise and talent offered by younger members of the bar.’
Bar Council chair Maura McGowan QC said the changes will make the bar’s ‘high-quality and cost-effective services more accessible than ever before’.