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OUTER Temple Chambers’ furrow into direct public access (DPA) is becoming a goldmine, with the set adding £500,000 to its balance sheet in the last six months.
Forty members of the 64-barrister set have been trained to undertake DPA work over the last 18 months.
Barristers who have signed up to DPA, which was introduced three years ago, include Andrew Spink QC, who was involved in the foot-andmouth disease judicial review and the Harold Shipman inquiry.
The 40 barristers and clerks embarked on an intense oneday training course with the College of Law before they were allowed to be instructed directly without a client having to first go to a solicitor.
The crash course equipped the barristers and clerks with solicitor skills such as administrative procedures, client care, assessing the suitability of a claim and how to resolve funding issues.
Business development director Derek Jenkins said the set expects to see a 100 per cent growth in revenue from DPA in the next 12 months.
Jenkins said: “[DPA] allows cost-effective access to specialist legal advice for a range of clients and the ability for the public to be guided to an expert at the fee level they can afford.”
Outer Temple’s success bucks the trend found in a recent survey conducted by Hardwicke Building, which showed a lack of knowledge about direct access.
The survey revealed that a little more than a third of businesses have thought about instructing barristers directly, with 40 per cent saying they would not even contemplate it.