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Public Access was introduced in 2004 and permits barristers to be instructed directly by lay clients without the need for an instructing solicitor or other intermediary.

On 1st April 2010, the new Legal Services Board approved the rule changes and from this date, Public Access Barristers can now write and send correspondence using Chamber's headed paper in the course of their work. The public access barristers are now allowed to take cases directly from the lay clients in all legal matters including Criminal, Family and Immigration laws.

It is almost 3 years since Mr Anis Rahman OBE JP, a Public Access Barrister at 12 Old Square Chambers, Lincoln's Inn, London WC2A 3TX advocated and presented evidence in support of enfranchisement of the Immigration Law and the reform to paragraph 401 of the Bar's Code of Conduct. It is a great professional victory for Anis Rahman OBE and all practicing barristers who are now permitted to accept all types of cases from public, professionals and businesses similar to solicitors.

It is clearly in the consumer and public interest that consumers including the immigrants and asylum seekers are able to obtain advice directly from Public Access Barristers, which remains of high quality. The amendments seek to make public access easier to obtain, whilst retaining the requirements on barristers that ensure that a high quality and cost-effective service is provided.

Some examples of work which a Barrister is allowed to do on behalf on lay client:

a) A Barrister may appear on your behalf at court
b) A Barrister may give you legal advice
c) A Barrister may draft documents for you, such as will
d) A Barrister may draft and send letters for you on his Chambers' headed paper
e) A barrister may draft and prepare a witness statement for you

The recent changes mean that the public will be able to get better value for service and will cut out the cost associated with instructing solicitors first and then instructing a barrister.

2 April 2010

Anis Rahman OBE

Mr Anis Rahman OBE is a practising Barrister. He is Public Access Barrister practising from 12 Old Square, Lincoln's Inn.

Enquiries: 07958 515163