June 01, 2012 11:16 ET

Spiralling Costs and Uncertainty Hinder the British Justice System

Research reveals the barriers preventing the British public pursuing legal action as household name Stobart Group launches new legal service

- 55 per cent of UK adults put off pursuing legal action due to uncertainty over total costs

- 74 per cent citing overall cost as a concern before embarking on legal action

- 36 per cent saying their lack of control of a litigation process would stop them taking legal action

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - June 1, 2012) - The Populus Omnibus, a survey of over 2,000 UK adults, has uncovered some of the barriers preventing the British public from seeking justice.

The news comes as leading logistics business, Stobart Group, has launched a new service that will link members of the public and businesses direct to a barrister without needing to employ a solicitor.

Stobart Barristers, which offers access to a UK-wide network of specialist barristers for any area of law, uses a pricing model under which its clients agree and pay a fixed-fee through a 'pay-as-you-go' model during the litigation process.

Over 40 per cent of those surveyed (41 per cent) in the Omnibus said that they did not receive value for money when engaging a barrister via a solicitor, while 25 per cent said they'd received poor value for money.

The new division, headed up by the Group's legal director Trevor Howarth, has been formed following Stobart's decision to employ its own barristers without a solicitor in 2008, a move which has created significant savings on the company's annual legal fees.

The business says that it sees significant potential for growth in the changing legal services market as it continues to diversify into new areas where it sees significant commercial potential.

Members of the public, or businesses, have been able to engage direct with barristers since the introduction of Direct Public Access (DPA) legislation in 2004.

However, the same Populus research revealed that just 14 per cent we aware of DPA and only 22 per cent said they would know how to engage with a barrister without using a solicitor.

Once its clients have received a barrister's opinion, which the service would typically look to deliver in under seven days, its sister company Stobart Barrister Support Services can provide the necessary paralegal support to help a barrister prepare their case instead of a solicitor.

Overall, Stobart says that its fixed fee model of delivering barrister's services will be up to 50 per cent cheaper than if provided via a solicitor.

Stobart Barristers also provides one of the few ways for members of the public to pay for a barrister's service as despite the introduction of DPA legislation barristers are still not allowed to accept fees direct from members of the public.

Trevor Howarth, Stobart Group's legal director and managing director of Stobart Barristers, says this service will increase access to justice for many ordinary people.

He said: "DPA has been around for around eight years now but it hasn't been widely adopted because consumers don't know where to look or which barrister to pick, leaving many to still having to rely on the advice of their solicitor.

"But in doing so they are forced to pay significant fees. Our model cuts out waste and opens up access to a national panel of barristers that are selected for their ability to meet our clients' needs.

"Critically, people want assurances over what financial liabilities they may have if they were to pursue a litigation process but typically face an open ended process where costs remain unknown.

"Through providing a fixed-fee service we can help give people greater clarity over what level of exposure they face."

The service will operate a confidential call line seven days a week from 8am to 10pm.

Consumers can call the helpline direct on 0845 287 4735 or visit

Populus interviewed 2,036 GB adults online between 13th and 15th April 2012. Results have been weighted to be representative of all GB adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more information see

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