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A leading set specialising in commercial, construction, insurance and property law

Legal services for: Individuals


We provide legal advice and representation not only for solicitors and organisations, but also for individuals through the direct access scheme. To help you understand how we work at the Bar and how we can help you, we have set out below some frequently asked questions and our answers to them - just click the links:

  • What is a barrister?

    A barrister is a specialist lawyer who also has the right to appear and conduct proceedings in all courts and tribunals on behalf of clients. Barristers acting as advocates, provide written legal opinions to clients on how strong or weak their case is, draft documents required to conduct a case, hold conferences with clients to discuss their case and conduct negotiations with opposing parties for their clients.

    Barristers also help with non-contentious legal matters, such as drafting agreements and other legal documents.

    Barristers’ offices are referred to as “chambers” and each barristers at a set of chambers works as a self employed individual. Whilst this means they are in competition with one another (sometimes appearing against each other in court), our barristers also work together in teams.


  • How to instruct a barrister?

    Until recently a barrister could only be instructed by professionals (e.g. solicitors, patent agents, notaries), however this was changed with the introduction of the Direct Access Scheme. The scheme allows members of the public (as well as organisations, under the Licensed Access Scheme) to go directly to barristers for legal advice and representation, saving time and costs.

    If you would like to find out more about the Public Access Scheme and how the market has responded to it in recent years, please read our report: Public Access to Barristers: A survey of the market views and needs.

  • How do I choose the right barrister?

    Individuals seeking to instruct a barrister directly can only instruction a barrister who has undertaken Public Access training. You can see the list of our Public Access trained barristers on the right hand side of this page. Each of our barristers had a detailed CV which will allow you to assess the experience and the relevancy of their areas of practice to your dispute.

    Many legal professionals use independent legal directories to help choose a barrister, most commonly The Legal 500 and Chambers UK. Many of our barristers are ranked highly in these directories and are listed on the websites of industry associations such as The Commercial Bar Association or the Technology and Construction Bar Association.

    We also recommend that you visit our barristers’ profiles to find out more about their individual experience and knowledge.

    If you would like to instruct one of our barristers, your first point of contact is our Practice Management Team. Members of the team will consider your case and recommend the right barristers for you to choose from, taking into account the level of experience and expertise required, as well as the cost. Whilst they are not qualified lawyers, many of our practice managers have law degrees and an extensive knowledge and understanding of the legal system. Please note whilst our practice managers will assist you as best they can they are not able to give you legal advice. In order for us to provide the best service possible, please complete the Enquiry Form. When we have details of your enquiry and choose of barrister the barrister concerned will consider whether or not to take on your matter.

  • Do I have to sign a contract?

    Once a barrister has agreed to take on your matter, you will be sent a "client care letter". This letter will be your contract with the individual barrister for the work to be done (it is not a contract with Hardwicke). If another barrister needs to get involved, we will issue a separate agreement for you with that barrister. Until a barrister has agreed to take your case, neither the barrister nor Hardwicke can accept any responsibility for advising you on any other aspect of your case or matter.


  • What if I am not happy with the barrister you have suggested for me?

    Our practice team will not invite one of our barristers to take on your case unless you are happy. If you wish your enquiry to be put before a particular barrister although they were not recommended our practice team will do that.


  • What services can you provide through direct access?

    Our barristers can assist with drafting documents, give written and oral advice and provide advocacy services for clients in courts, tribunals, arbitrations, mediations and any other situation where you are permitted to have someone speak on your behalf. However please note barristers do not have the administrative support that solicitors have and it will often not practical or in your interests for a barrister to conduct the whole of a case without the involvement of a solicitor at any stage.

    There are some things a barrister cannot do for you, such as issue proceedings or applications or handling money for you. Any work that barristers are not permitted to do will need to be carried out by you or you may wish to instruct a solicitor to do it on your behalf. We will be happy to recommend a suitable firm or give you a selection from which to choose.

  • Can your barristers help if I don’t want to go through a court?

    Many of our barristers have experience of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The most common method of ADR is mediation, a cost effective way of negotiating a compromise solution between parties in dispute. At the end of a successful mediation, each party signs a legally binding agreement setting out the terms of the compromised agreed by all parties.


  • How much does it cost?

    The cost will depend very much on the type of matter, what level of skills and experience are required to deal with it and the time the work will take however, we would always inform you of the cost beforehand and obtain your confirmation that your barrister should proceed.

    When you make an enquiry, our Practice Management Team will provide an initial estimate of the costs that are likely to be incurred and there will be full cost transparency throughout your dealings with us so that there are no surprises.

  • Pro Bono work

    As the cost of instructing a barrister can pose a barrier for individuals to legal representation, many of our barristers give their time under the Bar Pro Bono Scheme. We give pro bono (free) assistance in conjunction with pro bono providers and have strong ties with the Bar Pro Bono Unit, a charity which helps individuals to find free legal representation. Most of this work comes from BPBU, so if you believe your case may qualify, please contact the Bar Pro Bono Unit.


  • Can your fees be fixed?

    Our barristers understand the pressures you may be under and the concern you may have about costs escalating.  If you would prefer a fixed fee for a particular piece of work speak to the practice manager you are dealing with and your barrister will consider whether that is acceptable. We find it is usually possible to agree a sensible arrangement which give you a good degree of certainty and ensures our barristers get reasonable but not excessive remuneration for the work they do on your behalf.


  • If I lose my case, do I still have to pay the costs?

    If you lose your case you will still have to pay your own costs and in most courts and tribunals you may well have to pay most of the other side’s costs as well.


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