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


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”.

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

 




    Readers Comments

  • 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 🙂

  • 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.

  • Phil Morton says:

    Nicely articulated Keith

  • Marc Beaumont says:

    But what about the future of the “cab” rank principle ?

  • Mozza says:

    Trucking good idea, Trevor.

  • Mel says:

    It is about time this old fashioned monopoly was ended, for the benefit of the consumer.


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