Rule 24B of the New South Wales Barristers’ Rules requires a barrister who accepts instructions on a direct access basis to provide the client with a written disclosure. The Bar Association has prepared a pro forma Rule 24B disclosure in response to requests for such a document. It requires details of the matter to be included in the document as well as details of the barrister’s experience as an advocate (to be set out at point 7). Two alternatives are set out for the first paragraph – the paragraph that is not required should be deleted from the document.
Familiarity with Rule 24B
Barristers should of course familiarise themselves with Rule 24B and check that the content of any disclosure is appropriate and sufficient in the particular circumstances of a matter.
The rule provides –
24B. A barrister who proposes to accept instructions directly from a person who is not a solicitor or officer of a government department or agency whose usual duties include engaging lawyers must:
(a) inform the prospective client in writing of:
(i) the effect of Rules 15 and 17;
(ii) the fact that circumstances may require the client to retain an instructing solicitor at short notice, and possibly during the performance of the work;
(iii) any other disadvantage which the barrister believes on reasonable grounds may, as a real possibility, be suffered by the client if the client does not retain an instructing solicitor;
(iv) the relative capacity of the barrister in performing barristers’ work to supply the requested facilities or services to the client compared to the capacity of the barrister together with an instructing solicitor to supply them; and
(v) a fair description of the advocacy experience of the barrister; and
(b) obtain a written acknowledgement, signed by the prospective client, that he or she has been informed of the matters in (a) above.
Professional standards endorsement
If you are a member of the NSW Bar Association the usual professional standards endorsement should appear on the disclosure unless it appears on a covering letter attaching the disclosure.