Hardwicke study calls on sets, Bar Council to hike direct access

Direct access to the bar has increased by 150 per cent in the past two years, but more needs to be done by the Bar Council and chambers, a new report claims.


Direct access to the bar has increased by 150 per cent in the past two years, but more needs to be done by the Bar Council and chambers, a new report claims.

Research by Hardwicke Building found that the proportion of in-house legal counsel, company secretaries and commercial directors directly instructing barristers has risen from 6 per cent in 2006 to 15 per cent today.

Two-thirds of respondents, however, said they would possibly instruct barristers directly, but were nervous due to the scheme only having run for four years.

Hardwickes’ report says more needs to be done by the Bar Council and chambers to provide clarification, transparency and guidance on how to instruct directly.

Hardwicke chief executive Ann Buxton said: “It’s clear that successful commercial chambers will need to overcome a number of perception issues and reform the way they operate if they want to attract and meet the needs of increasing numbers of direct access clients.”