Direct Access

What is Direct Access?

Direct Access is the modern way to conduct litigation. As the name suggests, Direct Access allows you to instruct a barrister direct.


Why is this different?

Until quite recently barristers were not allowed to accept cases direct from members of the public. People who wanted a barrister to advise or represent them could only do so via a solicitor.


What are the advantages of Direct Access?

First and foremost, instructing a barrister direct is almost always less expensive than instructing a solicitor and a barrister. It’s easy to see how it’s cheaper to retain one lawyer rather than two.


With Direct Access you are able to keep litigation costs to a minimum. This is because you need only instruct the barrister to do particular pieces of work – drafting a witness statement for example or attending at an interim or final hearing. The day to day case management (writing to the other side, filling in court forms, photocopying documents etc) can be done by you. This can lead to very significant savings.


In what areas of law will members of Chambers accept instructions?

Most of our members are specialist family law barristers dealing with contact arrangements, maintenance issues and divorce cases.


Other members of Chambers have a broad range of expertise, ranging from education law to boundary disputes.


How much does Direct Access cost?

Members generally do fixed fee work so all fees would be quoted after an initial look at the papers. There is no charge for looking at your papers.


Fees will always be agreed before the work is undertaken. That way you will know in advance how much the hearing or advice is going to cost. As a very rough guide a conference could cost as little as £250 plus VAT and a hearing as little as £500 plus VAT.


Where can I find out more information about Direct Access?

If you want to find more about Direct Access then please do not hesitate to contact Chambers. You may find it convenient to complete the enquire form below so we can get an outline of your case.


Further information is on the Bar Standards Board website; 

Financial Disputes arising out of Divorce where parties have joint assets worth less than £300,000

Our Direct Access barristers can advise you or your former partner if you cannot agree financial matters such as the division of assets, whether to sell your home, maintenance payments, or pension sharing during or after a divorce.


If you cannot agree, you can apply to a court for a financial order. You may need to attend a number of court hearings – our barristers can represent you in these hearings.

Timescales for your case will depend on a number of factors such as barristers’ availability, the value and complexity of your assets, whether you have children, how much you have already agreed with your former partner, and their approach.


Written advice on your financial dispute will be available within one to four weeks where possible. As a guide, court hearings for a financial order tend to take six to twelve months. This does not include possible appeals.


The table below provides a range of fixed fees, where the parties have joint assets which are worth less than £300,000.


Initial Conference and Preparation £500 – £1,000

Written advice on your financial dispute £500 – £1,000

Additional conferences if required £500 – £1,000

FDA (First Directions Appointment / exchanging financial information) £750 – £1,500

FDR (Financial Dispute Resolution / hearing to reach a settlement) £1,000 – £2,500

Final hearing (First day of final hearing if settlement was not reached) £1,500 – £4,000

Refresher (court day, after the first day of the final hearing) £750 – £2,000


Please note: Court hearing fees may require an uplift with reference to expenses, dependent on court location, travel time and costs.


Estimated fees are correct as of October 2020, and prices displayed exclude VAT (where applicable). For a quotation please call our clerks, on 01277 764899 or email them

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This set comes recommended for its members' expertise in children and matrimonial finance matters. The children cases range across both public and private law work, and include those concerning non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and fabricated illness. On the financial side, the set's barristers demonstrate the ability to act in substantial financial remedies cases as well as Schedule 1 and TOLATA matters.

~ Chambers UK Bar Guide 2020

Stour Chambers has 'a range of barristers at different levels suited for different cases'. Members continue to be instructed in complex multi-day cases in the public law space, where it provides 'expert counsel' across Kent and further afield involving non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and extreme neglect. On the family finance front, Elizabeth Spence is a go-to barrister for high-value cases with issues of minority shareholdings and opponents deploying hostile litigation tactics.

~ Legal 500 Bar Guide 2021

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