Due to a recent change in the law anyone can now go directly to a barrister without having to involve anyone else (e.g. a solicitor). The barrister's role remains essentially the same as when they are approached by a solicitor or another intermediary. Barristers can advise you on your legal status or rights. Barristers can draft and send documents for you and can represent you in court, tribunals or mediations. Barristers can also negotiate on your behalf and can attend investigative interviews and hearings where appropriate.
Because the barrister's role is unchanged and there are limits on the types of work that a barrister can do, there are still some cases and situations in which you will need to instruct a solicitor or another intermediary as well as a barrister. However, for many cases the public access scheme allows you to go directly to the expert barrister for advice, representation and drafting.