New statistics show top 20 legal issues consumers & SMEs seek help with
New figures from the Bar Council’s Direct Access Portal, the free to use ‘find a barrister’ website, show that the public and businesses are turning to barristers to help them with a wide range of legal issues.
Search statistics from a sample of more than 9000 individual searches made between 1 January and 1 August this year reveal that the top 20 most common search terms on the Portal, which lists barristers who have undergone additional training in order to deal directly with clients, revealed that employment issues,commercial matters and EU law were amongst the most popular searches this year. Searches for intellectual property, personal injury and disability discrimination were also popular, as was banking.
Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimee Doerries QC, said: “These findings give some indication of what the consumer, whether that be an individual member of the public or a small or medium sized business, are seeking the services of a direct access barrister for. The broad range of popular searches in the top 20 alone show the public are looking to barristers for all types of legal support.
“We can only assume that the reason EU law is so high up the rankings (fourth) is because of the uncertainty of Brexit. Although the main reason anyone is seeking the services of a barrister in the first place is because they are uncertain of their position in relation to the law, whether that be an employment issue, land dispute, or a matter affecting their business.
“It is encouraging to see that growing numbers are turning to direct access barristers for legal help. Traditionally, the public would go through a solicitor in order to access the services of a barrister. Direct access allows anyone to go straight to a barrister where their case or legal problem is suited to that type of approach. In some cases, it might be more appropriate for someone to go to a solicitor who can subsequently instruct a barrister if needs be. The point of direct access is that it creates more choice for those with a problem who need a legal professional to help them and allows them access to the specialist skills of a barrister.”
The top 20 most popular searches on the Direct Access Portal were, in order:
- Professional Negligence
- Landlord and tenant
- Intellectual Property
- Disability Discrimination
- Mental health
- Personal injury
- Court of Protection
- Medical Negligence
Mid table searches on the Portal included even the less common areas of law, such as Ecclesiastical law and Animal Welfare law. The least popular search was Transport law. There are 70 different areas of law to search from on the Portal and multiple searches can be made.
The Portal allows consumers and businesses to search for a barrister based on their areas of legal expertise and location in England & Wales.