SMEs can now get a barrister on their side and lower legal costs. It isn’t uncommon for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to face overwhelming financial pressures, often meaning that they are left running to tight budgets. Unexpected payments, therefore, can have a huge and detrimental impact on SMEs, with the need to fund legal proceedings being particularly costly. More often than not, SMEs do not have a budget for legal needs and don’t expect to need one either.
No matter the nature of the legal action, SMEs need quality legal advice that is going to secure them the best possible outcome, as well as doing so in a short time-frame and at the lowest cost possible. Luckily, through using a public access barrister, SMEs can get just that. Although a relatively new change, having the ability to instruct a barrister themselves can be extremely beneficial.
Public Access Scheme Available to SMEs
Prior to the update, SMEs used to have to instruct a barrister via a solicitor, which meant extra costs due to having to pay for a solicitor and barrister, as well as taking more time to do this process. Now, however, businesses can directly access and instruct a barrister themselves. It’s important to note that not all barristers are public access barristers, and not all cases are suitable for public access either, however, this option is available and suitable to many SMEs.
The legal finances of SMEs is protected as money is never directly held by the barrister until the allocated time of payment for fees. The Bar Council ensures this through operation of an escrow system, which means that small businesses can feel reassured that their money is being dealt with fairly.
How to Find the Right Barrister
Online research often provides enough information for SMEs to find the right barrister for their case. Chambers like ourselves offer a profile for each of the barristers within it, showcasing their experience and expertise to help clients to find the right public access barrister for them. Once a barrister has been decided on, clients must then get in touch with the chambers, who will help to get the process started.
Fee rates will then be discussed, and the barrister will explain the next steps for the case going forward. The way in which a barrister is then needed and used depends on each specific case and the needs of the client, but work can be tailored accordingly. For instance, a barrister may not be required for all steps of the case, but this can be discussed directly with the barrister.
The Bar is highly attuned to the needs of SMEs largely because each barrister themselves is essential an SME too, and so they understand the needs and struggles that SMEs face.