Direct Professional Access (DPA)
Since May 1990 we have authorised some bodies and their members to have direct professional access (DPA) to members of the Bar of Ireland in non-contentious matters. The scheme does not extend to contentious matters (for example, court appearances). The scheme means members of professional bodies (known as “approved professional bodies”) can instruct barristers directly without going through a solicitor. The bodies must formally apply for inclusion on the Register and satisfy the Bar Council that:
- their members provide skilled and specialist services; and
- the body has a significant need for a barrister’s services.
- The body must also show that their affairs and conduct are regulated by a constitution that governs:
- their standards
- how people become members of their body; and
- how the body handles discipline and unethical or dishonourable conduct.
We have a list of bodies accredited under the DPA scheme. Professional bodies who wish to be added to the list should first write to the Director, Bar Council, Law Library Building, 158/9 Church Street, Dublin 7. The External Relations Committee of the Bar Council decides who should have access to the scheme. This access may be conditional and sometimes may only be allowed for an initial trial period.