Keep on trucking – Eddie Stobart enters legal services market (yes, really)

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By Legal Futures

17 May 2012

Logistics business the Stobart Group – home of the famous Eddie Stobart lorry fleet – has today launched a new service to link members of the public and businesses direct to a barrister without needing to employ a solicitor.

It is by some distance the most unexpected development so far in the post-Legal Services Act world.

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.

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 the company said has created “significant savings”.

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Research for Stobart Barristers found that just 14% were aware of direct public access to barristers and only 22% said they would know how to engage with a barrister without using a solicitor. It also found that 55% of UK adults said they would not pursue legal action due to uncertainty over the cost.

Once a client has 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% cheaper than if provided via a solicitor.

Stobart Barristers said it also provides one of the few ways for members of the public to pay for a barrister’s service as despite the introduction of public access, barristers are still not allowed to accept fees direct from members of the public.

Trevor Howarth, Stobart Barristers’ managing director, said: “This is a new market for the group and one where we see significant potential to grow by offering the public the chance to benefit from a model we have successfully honed for our own business over the past few years…

“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.”

The Populus research also revealed that 36% of people said they had not pursued legal action because of feeling out of control of the litigation process


6 Responses to “Keep on trucking – Eddie Stobart enters legal services market (yes, really)”

  1. Well that’s one juggernaut that I suspect few, if any, saw coming!
    I suspect that it will either be bit of a damp squib or a runaway success. Sorry, I just can’t avoid the trucking metaphors 🙂

  2. Keith Binding on May 17th, 2012 at 11:59 am
  3. Well, this must be Trevor Howarth of Bolton CPS / Nick Freeman pedigree? If so he is certainly living up to his namesakes in the Ian Dury song “Clever Trevor!” Does his car have a ladies name endorsed? Sorry, a very entrepreneural move presumably aimed at the motoring public and RTA offences. I think it will work because of Trevor’s experience and the public’s liking of the ethos and branding of Stobarts. Innovative! Barristers will scramble to get on the panel.

  4. Martin Coyne on May 18th, 2012 at 1:12 pm
  5. Nicely articulated Keith

  6. Phil Morton on May 18th, 2012 at 1:46 pm
  7. But what about the future of the “cab” rank principle ?

  8. Marc Beaumont on May 18th, 2012 at 5:08 pm
  9. Trucking good idea, Trevor.

  10. Mozza on May 25th, 2012 at 12:36 pm
  11. It is about time this old fashioned monopoly was ended, for the benefit of the consumer.

  12. Mel on May 25th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

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