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Public Access Barristers

I have been in practice in Bristol since 1993. My practice has mainly involved advice in employment law matters. Bristol has a very wide range of types of employment, and there has been a steady flow of clients seeking advice in relation to employment law issues.

Until recently, clients seeking advice on employment law could only instruct a barrister through a solicitor. The profession of barrister was purely consultative. This could result in the position that clients seeking advice on employment law might have to pay twice for advice – once to the solicitor and again to the barrister where the solicitor passed the matter on.

Fortunately, this rule has now been relaxed. Employers and employees seeking advice on employment law matters can now go directly to a barrister. There are certain rules still in force which restrict the scope of a barrrister’s work in public access, but the general principle is that advice on employment law matters can now be obtained from these Chambers without the intervention of a solicitor. This means that the expertise of a barrister with significant experience in employment law can be obtained at significantly less cost.

Most employers and employees are aware that employment law can be complex. It is rapidly changing – decided cases are currently running at a rough average of three or four each week. Coherent advice on employment law can now be accessed more easily, and at less cost, thanks to the introduction of public access to barristers.


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