Bar Council - Ethics portal logo


Direct Access and Conduct of Litigation

Purpose: To consider issues arising in cases when barristers are not instructed by a solicitor or other professional client
Scope of application: Self-employed barristers undertaking work on a Public Access or Licensed Access basis and/or conducting of litigation
Issued by: The Ethics Committee
First reviewed: 01/12/2015
Last reviewed: 30/10/2023
Status and effect: Please see the notice at end of this document. This is not 'guidance' for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4.

As a self-employed barrister, you may accept instructions provided you are:

  • appointed or instructed by the court;
  • instructed by a solicitor or other professional client. The definition of professional client includes members or authorised bodies (such as the Law Society and CILEx), the employed Bar and foreign lawyers;
  • instructed by a Public Access client;
  • instructed by a Licensed Access client; or
  • (in the case of the conduct of litigation) authorised to conduct litigation and instructed by a client to do so.

This document sets out the understanding of the Bar Council about aspects of the role of barristers when instructed on a public or licensed access basis or to conduct litigation.

Download: :

Download ( PDF )

Important Notice

This document has been prepared by the Bar Council to assist barristers on matters of professional conduct and ethics. It is not “guidance” for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4, and neither the BSB nor a disciplinary tribunal nor the Legal Ombudsman is bound by any views or advice expressed in it. It does not comprise – and cannot be relied on as giving – legal advice. It has been prepared in good faith, but neither the Bar Council nor any of the individuals responsible for or involved in its preparation accept any responsibility or liability for anything done in reliance on it. For fuller information as to the status and effect of this document, please see here.

Bar Council - Ethics portal logo