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