Cornwall Street Door tenant and former Counsel General for Wales, Theo Huckle QC, said that during lockdown he undertook the Bar Council’s public access course after learning almost 25% of all the earnings of the Bar are now from direct access instructions.
Theo was until recently Head of the Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury team at Doughty Street Chambers, and has just became Chair of the Bar Council’s Wellbeing at The Bar Working Group. He is a board member of JUSTICE.org.uk and of Advocate (Bar Pro Bono Unit).
“I thought this was a development I was standing outside of for no good reason. Direct access is happening and to ignore it is bordering on luddite,” he told Legal Futures.
His aim, however, is to limit his direct access work to preliminary advice, “as I do not wish to conduct complex injury litigation through this model and do not have the resources or systems to do so outside of Chambers”.
When asked about his recent decision to leave Government, Theo stated, “I resolved that every five years I would look hard at what I was doing and why”.
He saw the number of sole practitioners at the Bar rising as a consequence of direct access work and was receiving direct approaches anyway: “I fancy being in total control of it.” But had previously shielded away from direct access out of concern that he would be competing with instructing solicitors.
You can read more in the full interview with Legal Futures here.