Court Appearances: When you contact Chambers to book Counsel, the Clerk will advise you if the barrister of your choice has an existing commitment and establish your wishes as to alternative counsel. As there are over 40 members of Chambers, including 10 QCs, we provide a breadth of expertise and experience in our specialist areas. It is our policy to offer all available Counsel regardless of seniority. You may wish to double-book Counsel, in which case we will keep you informed as to likely availability as the court date approaches so you may reassess your options. In the unusual circumstance that we cannot provide acceptable cover within Chambers we will, if required, assist in finding Counsel for you.
Written Work: Our policy is that all instructions should be dealt with within 14 days of receipt of the papers unless you agree to another deadline (shorter or longer). If a matter is required to be dealt with urgently, please contact the Clerk in advance and/or clearly mark the back sheet as “urgent”. Any agreement about deadlines is recorded on our computer record for the case so that we can monitor progress against our commitment to you. In the unlikely event of our being unable to meet the deadline, we will of course notify you as soon as possible.
Briefs: It is essential for the efficient, effective handling of a case that Counsel are allowed sufficient time to prepare fully for court appearances. For example, many cases now require skeleton arguments to be lodged in advance of the hearing and so it is vital that instructions are sent allowing time for preparation. Wherever the date of delivery allows, Counsel will ensure skeleton arguments or other relevant written applications are lodged in advance. For our part, we will ensure that Counsel arrive at court at least half an hour before the scheduled start time to allow time for discussion with yourself and your client. We accept that an increasing number of instructions and enclosures are being delivered electronically. We would request that consideration is given for those papers that will require printing. This is particularly relevant in high-value matrimonial finance cases. It is expected that the preparation of court bundles will be undertaken by those instructing.
Legal Aid: In legally aided cases we request that you enclose a copy of the Legal Aid Certificate or Order with your instructions or brief. We also ask that you inform us of any amendments to the Certificate or Order which may impact upon Counsel’s fees or if the Certificate or Order is revoked or discharged for any reason. If a Certificate or Order is not provided, we reserve the right not to accept instructions. Unfortunately, if we discover retrospectively that Counsel is not covered by legal aid for any reason, we will have no alternative but to look to your firm for payment of our costs.
Basis of Fees/Terms of Business
Our aim is to provide the highest level of service at competitive rates. The Senior Clerk is available to discuss the levels and basis of fees. In most cases we prefer to see the instructions or papers in order to assess the complexity and likely length of the case and the amount of preparation involved before giving an estimate. Seniority of counsel and urgency of response are also taken into consideration. The cost thus reflects the individual case. In appropriate circumstances a Conditional Fee Agreement is available. Any fee agreed will be noted on our computer record for the case and can be confirmed in writing for your file if required.
We will render a fee note on completion of the work or at regular intervals in a long-running case. We also provide fee notes upon request. We observe the (new) standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012. If you wish to make alternative arrangements please speak to the Senior Clerk. We adhere to the Bar Council’s Code of Practice for progressing payment of fees.
In legally aided cases and for Conditional Fee Agreements, we will write to you at intervals requesting updates on the progress of the case and when you think the case is likely to conclude. A prompt response to these requests will enable us to keep our records up to date and avoid sending you unnecessary reminders.
Members of Chambers practise under the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales and also adhere to Chambers’ policies and procedures as defined on our website.This has been developed to ensure compliance with the Bar Council’s ‘Handbook’. Health & Safety and Equal Opportunities Polices are available on request.
Our Quality Management System incorporates continuous improvement mechanisms which allow us to monitor our effectiveness against our standards, procedures and policies and to instigate improvement initiatives where appropriate. An important source of information for improvement comes from client feedback and we would ask you to inform us immediately should you experience any difficulty with Chambers, its members or staff. We have internal procedures for addressing clients’ concerns and take their comments seriously. Please contact the Senior Clerk.