Does anyone have experience of using a “Direct Access Barrister”?
Did you use one from the beginning or change after initially using a solicitor?
Would you recommend this route? Or stick to a traditional Solicitor/ Client arrangement ?
Hi, yes I used a DPA Barrister throughout the Court process.
I started off with a solicitor up to Decree Nisi and switched to DPA Barrister once it was clear court was inevitable and costs were an issue.
The DPA route will certainly save you money. I'd say my costs were about 50% of what they would have been if a solicitor was involved.
Having said that, the stress and time involved was huge. You won't get any hand holding from the barrister, you will not build a relationship with them like you would with your solicitor. The barrister will only be as good as the the case you prep and supply them. It is important that you recognise that the DPA route isn't suited to everyone. There were times I struggled with what was needed. If the barrister doesn't think you are suitable for DPA they should refuse your case and ask you to consider instructing a solicitor. If you are pretty clued-up, willing to put in the time and effort to prep, research and understand your case and what is required DPA can work really well. Depending on your budget, you can ask the barrister to draft docs, offer their input and advice on how your case should be approached etc. As well as represent you at hearings. A good barrister will tell you what you need according to your case and budget. Mine said I should be okay at the FDR without him as a LIP if funds were tight as it seemed likely matters would progress to a FH.
You might want to consider an unbundled service from a solicitor in addition to the DPA barrister if funds permit it and depending on how complex your case is or what stage you are at.