RESULT OF REDUCED LIMITATIONS OF A LITIGATION CERTIFICATE
Barristers may, if wished, also -
We are required by the Bar Standards professional rules to ensure that any client agrees to the terms of a Public Access Letter. This will set out clearly the basis upon which you are instructing a barrister and must be signed by the client before any advice can be given or work can be undertaken by the barrister.
Litigation certification for barristers was introduced in 2011. Prior to that, a barrister could not 'conduct litigation'. This limitation now applies to a Direct Access Barristers unless they have a Litigation Certificate. The Litigation Certification authorises the holder to undertake the following tasks which otherwise would be outside the barrister's permitted role, namely-
A Direct Access barrister without a Litigation Certificate relies on the client to undertake the conduct of the litigation, writing letters, issuing proceedings, preparing bundles, and thus avoid paying for such help. However, the Bar Conduct Rules require that before accepting instructions from a lay client, the barrister must assess whether the client will be able to discharge the tasks required of him, and keep this assessment under constant review. If at any time he is not so able, the barrister must cease to act until the client has the necessary assistance, usually a solicitor, to help him.
The Litigation Certificate enables Caroline to undertake such of the conduct of the litigation as the client desires and to step in should it become necessary and only to the extent it becomes necessary or desired. This avoids the potential disruption of direct access instructions suddenly requiring the appointment of a solicitor and helps the reduction of costs by enabling the client to perform such of the role as he wishes.
The remaining difference between the powers of a solicitor and barrister with a litigation certificate is that the latter cannot hold funds on behalf of a third party. This affects the fee structure often used by Direct Access barristers, and also requires consideration of the alternative options for holding third party funds should this become necessary.
The Family Court and judiciary generally is putting huge emphasis on Alternative Dispute Resolution, whereby parties reach agreement without recourse to litigation. By holding a Litigation Certificate, Caroline is ideally placed to investigate the best routes for achieving compromise, and a compromise that suits the client.
Fee Structures for Work and Billing would be agreed before any advice is offered to a Client. Please feel free to call for an indication of charges and a free discussion as to whether and how we could help you.
CAROLINE HELY HUTCHINSON Barrister
Family, Divorce and Matrimonial Lawyer
Legal Advice and Efficient, Practical Help in Resolving
Matrimonial and Family Issues