Direct access

You can now instruct me directly to act for you without a solicitor.

Firstly – call my direct access clerk, Fiona, at Trinity Chambers (https://www.trinitychambers.co.uk/ or 01642 247 569 / 0191 2321927) to discuss your needs as she can work out what you need from me and ensure that my professional rules and obligations are complied with properly.

This allows you to save money by getting the legal work you need and only that which you need. You can take advantage of my reduced overheads compared to a solicitor’s office but the tradeoff is that you need to be willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work a solicitor would normally do, including communications with other parties and the court, filing court documents and gathering evidence.

You get the benefit of an experienced lawyer advising you ,drafting formal documents and appearing at court for you whilst you remain in control of the process.

How I can help you

I bring my experience as a lawyer directly to bear on your case.

Most of my direct access work is advisory – where I can advise and guide you as to how best to pursue your case, making sure you understand the legal position you are in. I can do this at any stage – before you present a claim, after you have a response or part-way through proceedings.

I can advise in person, by telephone or in writing dependent on your needs and preferences.

The major advantage to you of seeking advice directly from me as a barrister is that you can obtain that advice and then decide what you want to do with it. If you come back to me weeks or months later I can advise you further but there is no obligation on you whatsoever.

If you decide you want to present a claim or complaint and do not feel comfortable doing this yourself then I am able to prepare letters or statements of case to best present your case.

Most importantly – when your case comes to be heard I can appear for you and present your case forcefully and objectively as a specialist advocate.

When I can help you

If you are considering your position the sooner you seek advice the better – there are legal time limits to take action and if these expire then you can find yourself without any options.

If you seek advice early then you can avoid me having to give advice I have given many times, that there would be a good case, but it has now been barred by law.

An initial advice on the basis of your own records and documents by telephone for half an hour or an hour can be arranged quickly through my clerks to discuss your position, options and steps you may want to take to investigate further.

If you have gathered a bundle of evidence already and want to the certainty of a written opinion on your position and options then I can prepare a full written opinion for you to rely upon.

At this stage you may be ready to present a complaint and may do so in any way you wish. If you want me to I am able to draft a suitable letter for you.

Many people are happy to present a complaint themselves and it is only after it is rejected that advice is needed. When you have a formal response to a complaint (this also starts a separate time limit of 6 months!) you may want to think about litigation or referring to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Having read many complaint responses they are often forceful and may dissuade good complaints – or you may be best advised not to press on – this is a good time to take stock and take advice.

If you want to press onto the FOS then having a professionally prepared complaint gives you the best chance of persuading the Ombudsman.

If you are thinking of going to court instead then my traditional role would be to draft particulars of claim (also known as a statement of case, or pleadings in pre-CPR language). These are technical documents which require you to set out your case in clear and concise terms and in all but the simplest of cases solicitors tend to instruct barristers to do this work.

Once you have set down the path you intend to go to bring your case to a trial at court or decision of the Financial Ombudsman Service if you need advice or drafting you can always arrange further work to support your case.

Through the process you may want advice or need other documents drafting and I can arrange anything from a half hour conference call to drafting detailed submissions or appearing at an interim hearing.

If you choose to go to court you will ultimately have a hearing (or more than one) before a judge and I can appear for you as a clear and compelling advocate to present your case and argue it before the court.

The final stage I can assist you is when you have a decision – do you need to appeal a court decision or seek judicial review of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

No matter how you feel about the decision if you wish to challenge it I can always provide objective advice on the merits of such a challenge, the short timeframe to do this, and (if you want to proceed) prepare the necessary documents.

Working with me directly

Working with me as your barrister is a bit different to having a solicitor.

I won’t charge you a percentage of the winnings – nor will I charge you every month.

When you work with me as a barrister we agree what I will do for you and a fee for that work. If you need me to draft a detailed letter of claim based on a thousand pages of documents then I will look at it and agree a fee so you do not need to worry about bills later or having to pay anything from your compensation.

Because I do not run a solicitors office and am not able to conduct litigation I do not run your case in the way a solicitor would so you have to take care of communications with the other side, complying with court directions and deadlines yourself and gather evidence.

The advantage of this is that when you come to me you are not paying for an expensive office or support staff, you are only paying for my time and expertise without the overheads of a litigation firm.

Key to getting the best out of me is preparing a brief that makes it clear what I am working with and what you want me to do. See my guide to preparing a brief.

What if you need a solicitor later?

If at any stage you do not feel comfortable dealing with the court and the other side directly then you can always instruct a solicitor to work with me. I can bring them up to date and work with them to continue your case.

How to instruct me