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Historically Barristers would only be instructed by a solicitor. However, whilst it remains the case that most Barristers receive their instructions from solicitors it is now possible for Companies to instruct a Barrister directly under the Direct Access Scheme without a solicitor’s input.
The difference between a Solicitor and a Barrister is quite often described by the analogy between a G.P. and a Consultant.
Barristers are generally instructed by solicitors to advise on cases, for example in terms of the merits, the applicable law, the value or quantum of the claim and evidence to prove the claim.
They also commonly draft Court papers known as pleadings which set out the fundamental basis of the facts and law upon which a case is based. However, generally Barristers are most associated with advocacy in Court presenting the case before the Judge and examining witnesses.
Historically it was not possible to sue a Barrister for professional negligence in relation to advocacy before the Court. The case of Hall -v- Simons  AC 615 changed this. So just as it is now possible to instruct a Barrister by direct access it is possible to sue a Barrister who is either plainly wrong or where advocacy failed to meet the minimum expected standards and as a result you have suffered financial loss.
We will help determine exactly whether the advice given by your Barrister or the advocacy service provided fall within the standard that can be reasonably expected of a Barrister with the same instructions. If your Barrister has failed to meet those minimum expectations we can help you to identify the loss or potential losses you have suffered. We can then consider how best to pursue this claim and the likely the costs.
Our claim is to give you as clear a picture of how strong your claim is and how much it is worth as soon as possible and in any event before you take a decision to take proceedings.
However, it should be appreciated that suing a Barrister for professional negligence will generally require in itself a specialist Barrister’s input, particularly in complex matters.
Whilst Barristers should have professional indemnity insurance for the consequence of their negligence /mistakes/breaches of duty, which means you can have a degree of confidence that if you have to bring a claim and you are successful you should be able to recover the full amount of damages and costs awarded, it also means that those insurers may well take a robust view and often bring too bear considerable resources when defending a claim. This can make running a case against a Barrister quite expensive.
However, if we feel you have a good prospect of success and the value of the claim is sufficient we will be prepared to consider acting for you under a Conditional Fee Agreement – sometimes known as “no win, no fee”.
Sometimes the Barrister’s service whilst inadequate may not amount to negligence. If this is the case you still may have grounds to bring in a complaint through their professional body, the Bar Council. We can assist with this.
Please note that the Bar Council is unable to make awards of compensation/damages for professional negligence and may decline to investigate/deal with a complaint if a claim is being pursued.