Public Access

What is Public Access?

Traditionally, to access the services of a barrister you needed to go through a solicitor. That is no longer the case. Dan is public access qualified which means you can go to him directly and ask him to be your lawyer.

If you have any questions, or would be interested in instructing him, please contact him where in many cases it will be possible to arrange for a free consultation as to whether he can help you.

Please see here for the BSB guidance on public access for lay clients. There is also a useful blog from the Bar Council’s Direct Access Portal.

There is a list of FAQs that often arise. Also, if you are wondering if you need a lawyer, here’s the answer.

Areas of Work

Some legal cases work better than others on a public access basis. Here are some of the areas that Dan specialises in, with some examples of cases that he can deal with on a public access basis. 

 

Criminal

  • Police Station and other investigatory interviews

Dan is one of the few barristers who has also qualified as a duty solicitor (and was one of the first, if not the first, barristers in chambers to do so). This means that he is qualified to advise and represent people who have been arrested or otherwise asked to attend the police station.

Other agencies (such as the Department for Work and Pensions, RSPCA or local council) also sometimes interview people (for example, in relation to allegations of benefit fraud) and he is also able to attend these

Although attending at an interview is often done by people who are not qualified lawyers, in many ways it is the most important part of a criminal case. Decisions then as to whether to answer questions can determine whether a case goes forward to trial, or whether the police have to drop it.

Even if a goes does progress, cases can be won or lost by what has happened at the police station. Dan has often seen the benefits of having an experienced trial lawyer in the police station, who has one eye on how the case will be presented many months down the line.

*Please note that in almost all cases you will be entitled to ‘legal aid’, which can only be arranged through a solicitor*

  • Advisory

The best way to win a trial is not to go to Court at all. In many cases, Dan can help you at an early stage of the investigation. 

  • Trial and Sentence

Many criminal trials are not suitable for public access work (at this stage), but some are.

Generally speaking, the more complicated the case, the more need there would be for a solicitor. As a brief example, a case of Common Assault in the Magistrates’ Court where there is one witness should work well with Public Access; a three month fraud trial in the Crown Court would probably not. 

If the case is suitable, then Dan is happy to advise as to practice and procedure, draft documents as necessary and provide representation. This could be because you are innocent and you want help in challenging the prosecution case, or because you want help in putting over mitigation – presenting the facts in the best light so as to get the Court to pass a lower sentence.

  • Post-Conviction Work

As the law gets more and more complicated, it is not uncommon for mistakes to be made. Sometimes these are small, sometimes they are as large as people pleading guilty when they are innocent.

Dan is renowned for his technical knowledge of sentencing and criminal procedure. As a result, he has frequently been approached by people who have used different lawyers previously and have been advised that there are no grounds of appeal against conviction or sentence

Even though other lawyers have said that there was nothing wrong with the sentence, or nothing that can be done about the conviction, Dan has taken on the cases and had convictions overturned and sentences reduced. 

Dan has experience of drafting applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) and has not only persuaded the CCRC to refer cases to the Court of Appeal, but have take those cases and got the convictions quashed.

Examples of cases that he has worked on can be seen here. A recent public access case was Mr A who had been convicted of rape and indecent assault and was serving an 8 year prison sentence.

His trial lawyer had said that there was nothing that could be done. Dan reviewed his case and identified what I thought were errors in the Summing Up and drafted Grounds of Appeal (you can see how this process works here). The Court of Appeal agreed that mistakes had been made. All his convictions were quashed and a retrial ordered

 

Immigration

Dan is able to act to provide advice and/or representation in all areas of immigration law.  

Whilst he has appeared in hundreds of asylum cases, these are generally not suitable for public access (and often legal aid will be available). However, if you have an asylum case and are interested in instructing him on it, you can contact him to discuss it.

Other areas of immigration law can work very well with public access. Examples of areas where he can help are :

  • Visitor appeals
  • Student appeals
  • Family life applications and appeals 
  • EEA applications
  • Business immigration 

Dan is happy to get involved at an early stage in drafting (or just checking) applications that are to be submitted to the Home Office, or giving advice as to what avenues are available.

As someone who is married to an American citizen, he has experienced first hand the bureaucracy and headaches that can be caused by the Home Office.

Dan is used to working with OISC registered organisations as well as individuals. 

He also has an interest in quasi-criminal aspects of immigration law, such as carrier’s liability for penalties for clandestine or improperly documented immigrants.

 

 

Public Law

Most of the work that Dan does in this area falls into the categories of prison or immigration law. This will often not be suitable for public access, but if you want to see if he can help you, then please contact him to discuss it.

 

Policy and General Legal

Dan is available to provide general guidance and advice on many areas of law and practice. Examples would be such as a ‘Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement’ under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 or money laundering requirements. 

 

*Note on legal aid and funding* – it is important to note that legal aid may be available in many cases. This is something that he will discuss with you. For someone detained by the police, legal aid is available (even if you attend the police station by appointment). For this reason, whilst he is happy to act, you will be able to obtain the services of a lawyer for free if you approach a solicitor). 

Please note that you may be eligible for funding from a different source, such as under an insurance policy. Even if you have not got specific ‘legal advice’ insurance, you may be covered by existing insurance policies (such as home insurance). Please check whether or not this is the case.