Until recently the regulations meant that you could only appoint a barrister to work on your case by going through a solicitor. This has now changed and in many situations you can now appoint a barrister direct – via the Public Access / Direct Access scheme.
Why would you want to do this? To use a healthcare analogy, solicitors have historically been the GPs of the legal world, while barristers have been the specialists. That is, experts in very specific areas of the law (just as surgeons specialise in particular parts of the body).
With the new rules you can now go straight to the expert best equipped to advise you on your legal issue, draft documents for you or represent you in Court. It is highly likely that this will speed up the progress of your case and save you money too.