Direct access is also sometimes known as “public access” or “direct public access”.
It used to be the case that members of the public could only access the services of a barrister (also known as “counsel”) by retaining a solicitor first, who would then instruct the barrister.
Since 2004, members of the public have been able to instruct barristers directly, without needing to use a solicitor as an intermediary.
The barrister must have completed an approved direct access training course and be registered with the Bar Council for direct access work.
The advantage of the direct access system is of course that you can access the barrister’s specialist expertise, without needing to instruct a solicitor, thereby saving time and money.