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Entries for September 2011:

Regulatory offences

15 Sep 2011, 10:47 by Christopher Knowles

Labels: barrister, criminal, direct-access, driving-with-no-insurance, lawyer, public-access

Many people will not worry about the consequences of committing such offences, e.g. having no television licence or driving with no insurance. They may consider that the risk is justified by the lack of punishment they would receive if they were caught and convicted. However, this is not the case. A conviction for such an offence can lead to the imposition of a fine and, in some cases, imprisonment. In the case of driving with no insurance, it could also result in a person being banned from driving. Such offences should not be taken lightly. If charged (in most cases you will be merely summonsed to Court) it is recommended that you are represented by a legally qualified person, as this can be a technical area of law and skilled advocacy is required to mitigate on your behalf. Lay clients can either brief a barrister through a solicitor or they can come direct to a barrister under the direct access, or as it is sometimes known public access, scheme.

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Public access, direct access to barristers

13 Sep 2011, 15:52 by John Snell

Labels: barrister, civil-law, direct-access, drink-driving, family-law, lawyer, licensing, public-access

Public access, or as it is also sometimes known direct access, to a barrister commenced in 2004. This was allowed in order to give lay clients a wider choice of legal services which it was beleived would be quicker and cheaper for them.

 Public access, direct access is becoming an increasingly large proportion of work that is done by the bar. However, not all barristers can work directly with lay clients. When dealing with a litigant in person there is often special care that is required and therefore more senior barristers tend to do public access or direct access and they are required to undertake a special course prior to undertaking work for lay clients.

From it's inception, direct access, public access has worked well which has led to an extension of the areas of work that barristers can do under this scheme. In particular family work has seen a marked increase in access to the bar. Also, criminal work has proved a popular area for lay clients in certain offences. These include speeding offences, drink driving, traffic light offences, RSPCA cases and other matters of this nature. Another growth area has been licensing of pubs, clubs and restaurants as well as other social venues.

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