Barristers seen as expensive, research suggests

Family Law|July 12th 2017

Family law clients see barristers as an expensive luxury new research suggests.

The Bar Standards Bar commissioned market research firm IRN to poll 1,200 current or former family law firm clients on their views of and experiences with barristers. Amongst other topics, they were quizzed on whether or not they had used the ‘direct access’ scheme. This allows litigants to instruct barristers directly rather than doing so via a solicitor intermediary.

Only 13 per cent of the respondents reported using  a barrister in their case, and although the majority said they were aware of direct access, only 12 per cent had actually taken advantage. No less than 79 per cent of those who had used a barrister were mostly happy with the service they had received and a number of those polled said they would consider using barrister in the future.

However, a decisive 83 per cent of the respondents said they thought barristers were more expensive than solicitors.  Around half of those who said they had considered using a solicitor but then changed their mind cited costs as the reason.

In addition, reported IRN:

“…some individuals only associate a barrister with a court appearance and, at the start of the family law legal process, a client may have no idea if he or she is going to end up in court. This uncertainty about the path of the legal process is mentioned by a number of interviewees.”

Ewen MacLeod is director of policy and strategy at the Bar Standards Board. He said:

 “We are pleased that most of the respondents who used a barrister for a family law matter were satisfied with the level of service that they received.”

Photo of Middle Temple, London, by Davide Gorla via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. dr. manhattan62 says:

    i would doubt very much that this would be the case with parents fighting the SS through the family courts.
    Barristers appointed by solicitors seem to raise the confidence and expectations of parents following what they are told in conference meetings. when it gets to the court room it all fall flat. Barristers seem reluctant to go for it and get their teeth in.
    theres no point getting a Rottweiler to protect you if it has no teeth. its that simple.

  2. Paul says:

    Whole system is out of date. Unable to meet the demands of people who have to use it.
    Tell me that a couple on minumum wage income can afford to go to court over any issue ? – legal aid was wrong and was rightly scrapped. But you need to fill the void with something. The courts are becoming a place for the privoliged. The law is not supposed to be a luxury.

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