Gainsborough Law uses “The Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012 (Updated for the GDPR in 2018)’ and these terms will apply to all instructions received or accepted by counsel unless otherwise agreed in writing prior to the commencement of the work. Our Terms of Work can be downloaded here. However, Gainsborough Law is committed to ensuring that work is undertaken by counsel on mutually agreeable terms. If you would prefer to contract on terms which are different from the New Standard Terms, for example COMBAR terms, please contact us at your earliest convenience and we will be happy to discuss terms of work further.
A lawyer is a generic term for someone who practises law. Solicitors and barristers are different types of lawyer offering different types of services, although there is increasing overlap.
Solicitors take conduct for litigation and take the formal steps that are necessary to progress and action. A solicitor refers work to a barrister for specialist advice or to appear in court to represent the client.
Barristers are trained as specialist advisers and advocates. This means that they become involved where expert legal advice is needed, where documents need to be drafted for their clients to use, or for advocacy.
In the past, a solicitor was usually the first person that a member of the public would go to with their legal problem. Now, members of the public can approach certain qualified barristers under the public access scheme.
Members of the public may now go directly to a barrister without having to involve an instructing solicitor or other intermediary. In the past it was necessary for clients to use a solicitor through whom the barrister would be instructed. Although the barrister’s role remains essentially the same, members of the public may instruct a barrister directly without the need for a solicitor.
The main advantage of the public access scheme is that it saves you money. Instead of paying for a solicitor and a barrister, you only pay for a barrister.
The Bar Standards Board have produced guidance for those considering instructing a barrister under the public access scheme. You can view a copy of their guidance by clicking the link here: https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/uploads/assets/20f0db2a-a40c-4af9-95b1b9557ad748e9/Public-Access-Guidance-for-Lay-Clients.pdf
We can help you with representation, drafting and advice. Specifically, we can:
Appear on your behalf at court;
Give you legal advice;
Draft legal documents for you, such as a will or statement of claim;
Advise you on the formal steps which need to be taken in proceedings before a court or other organisation and draft formal documents for use in those proceedings;
Draft letters for you;
Prepare witness statements based on your or your witness’ instructions;
Where a case requires an expert witness (such as a surveyor), we can advise you on the choice of a suitable expert and may draft a letter of instruction which you can then send to the expert as a letter from you on your own notepaper;
Negotiate on your behalf and attend employment or investigative hearings where appropriate.
It is always difficult to predict how long a case or part of a case will take a barrister to complete. Some of the factors that will affect timescales are set out below:
- The barrister’s availability;
- The availability of the client or relevant third parties;
- The complexity of the case;
- The amount of papers the barrister needs to review;
- The need for additional information or documents;
- The approach taken by the other side;
- Third parties intervening in the case;
- Court waiting times.
Should you have any queries, please feel free to get in touch.
Certain members of chambers are authorised and regulated by the Bar Standards Board to conduct litigation on behalf of their public access clients. This is an additional service that can be useful for public access clients. If this is something that interests you, please contact our friendly clerking team who will be happy to assist you.
Certain members of chambers are authorised and regulated by the Bar Standards Board to go on the court record for their public access clients. If this is something that interest you, please contact our friendly clerking team who will be happy to assist you.
Instructing us is straightforward. Please follow these simple steps:
2. Sign the client care letter – In order to instruct a barrister, you will need to sign and return a copy of the client care letter. This will set out the terms under which the barrister agrees to work.
3. Fees – You will also be asked to pay the agreed fees in advance.
4. Working on your case – Once we have received the signed client care letter and fees, the barrister will begin work on your case. We may at this stage request further information or documents.
If you are a client of Gainsborough Law and you are unhappy with the service you received, in the first instance please follow Chambers’ complaints procedure, a copy of which can be found here: complaints policy.
If you are unhappy with Gainsborough Law’s final response to your complaint or if your complaint has not been dealt with in eight weeks and you are a individual, small business or charity, you can complain to the Legal Ombudsman You can contact the Legal Ombudsman at:
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton. WV1 9WJ.
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the Legal Ombudsman is available on their website: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/.
You must complain to the Legal Ombudsman either within six years of your barrister’s actions/failure to act, or no later than three years after you should reasonably have known there were grounds to complain. You must also complain to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving your barrister’s final response to your complaint.
You can see some of the Legal Ombudsman’s decisions over the last 12 months here:
This decision data on the Legal Ombudsman’s website shows providers which received an ombudsman’s decision in the previous 12 months and whether the provider was required to give the consumer a remedy.
Professional, licensed access and/or public access clients may contact chambers to obtain a quotation for legal services by contacting us using the details here. Before providing any quotes, we will typically request some papers and further information to see if we can assist you. If we can, to provide a no-obligation, free fees quote. Subject to receiving sufficient information, we will provide the fees quote within a reasonable time period (typically within 14 days of receipt of that information) and in clear and readily understandable terms.
Each fee quote is individually prepared and tailored to the work required. When quoting, Chambers will take into account the following factors.
– The complexity and number of factual and legal issues involved;
– The value of the amount in dispute;
– The year of Call of the barrister undertaking the work;
– The relevant expertise of the barrister undertaking the work;
– How long the work will take for the barrister to prepare and complete;
– The nature and scope of the instructions provided;
– The conduct and tactics of any other parties;
– The turnaround time in which the work must be completed;
– Whether the barrister is being asked to work on a matter at short-notice or out of office hours;
– The volume of documents and materials that the barrister must read and consider;
– The amount of travel time of the barrister;
– The amount of any disbursements such as travel or printing costs.
Barristers at Gainsborough Law carry out work on different bases depending on: (a) which type of instructions are accepted (eg whether a professional solicitor client, a licensed access client or a public access client) and (b) the type and complexity of the work involved. Example pricing models are set out below:
An agreed fee – This is where a barrister will charge a client a set amount of money for work. This type of fee can be used in different scenarios, as set out below:
- Written work – Where a barrister is being asked to undertake written work with clear parameters eg drafting a claim or providing providing a formal written advice (“Counsel’s advice”), barristers at Gainsborough Law will often suggest an agreed fee.
- Conferences – Where a barrister is being asked to undertake a conference (meeting) to advise a client, whether in person, or via video or telephone conferencing, barristers at Gainsborough Law will often suggest an agreed fee.
- Brief fee and refreshers – Where a barrister is being asked to attend Court on a particular date and time, they will often suggest an agreed fee is used, (“a Brief fee”). Where the Court or Tribunal matter is a trial or a final hearing, the Brief Fee will cover preparatory work (which may including drafting documents for the Court or Tribunal), conferences with a client at Court and representation at the first day of the any hearing.
- Multi-Day hearings – If the Court hearing (most often a trial) continues beyond one day, the barrister’s fee for each consecutive day is known as a “refresher”. This is a fixed fee for each subsequent day and includes ongoing preparation.
Hourly Rate – This is where a barrister will charge a fixed fee per hour their time. This fee structure is typically used where it is not clear at the outset how long work will take. At Gainsborough Law, it is used most commonly for work that amounts to the conduct of litigation. All work conducted on an hourly rate is carefully timed to ensure accuracy in billing.
At Gainsborough Law, we use both agreed fees and hourly rates. If we are being asked to conduct litigation, we will typically suggest a combination of both, namely that (a) the conduct of litigation is undertaken on an hourly rate; (b) Court hearings, formal conferences, formal advices or formal Court drafting is undertaken on an agreed basis.
If you are instructing a barrister via the Public Access scheme, you will be asked to pay your fees in advance. If you have been offered an agreed fee, we will ask this to be paid into our chambers’ account in good time before work on your case begins.
If, pursuant to an extension of the Public. Access scheme, you instructing a barrister to conduct litigation for you and/or otherwise operate on an hourly rate, we will ask you to make regular payments into a separate third party escrow account to cover the barristers’ fees.
Fees notes will be provided to you setting out the work done and how the barrister’s time has been spent on the case. Once a fees note has been rendered, the barrister will request that an amount of money is released from the third party escrow account in order to settle the fees note. Once a client agrees to the sum requested, the fees are released from the escrow account to settle the fees note.
If, as a public access client, you are offered an agreed fee, that fee fee will be due and payable before a barrister starts work. A fee note will be rendered and payment will be requested in advance into Chambers’ bank account, details of which will be provided on the fees note. Once payment has been made, you will be provided with a receipted fees note showing your payment.
If, as a public access client, you are offered an hourly rate (ie the amount of fees has not yet been agreed), then Gainsborough Law will set up a separate escrow account for you with a trusted and reputable provider. We will meet the costs associated with this service. We will then ask you to pay a sum of money into the account for safekeeping until a fee note can be rendered.
This is because, unlike solicitors, barristers do not hold money “on account” of their fees. In other words, barristers do not accept money for fees before those fees are due for payment. Once the escrow account is set up and a barrister starts work on your case, you will be provided with regular fees notes setting out the timed work undertaken on your case. Once a fee note has been rendered, we will ask the escrow provider to release a sum covering that amount, to be released from the escrow account. You will be invited to authorise this payment and upon your agreement, the requested funds will be remitted to the Gainsborough Law bank account. You will be provided with a receipted fees note showing that the fees note has been settled.
All barristers at Gainsborough Law are registered for Value Added Tax (“VAT”). Details of their VAT registration number is provided at the bottom of their fee note. The rate of tax on a service is generally the rate in force at the tax point. At present, the standard rate of VAT which must be charged is 20%.
Barristers in England and Wales, including those at Gainsborough Law are regulated by the Bar Standards Board (“BSB”). You can view the Barristers’ Register page on the BSB’s website here: https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/for-the-public/search-a-barristers-record.html. The BSB’s Barristers’ Register shows who has a current practising certificate and whether a barrister has any disciplinary findings, which are published on the Barristers’ Register in accordance with the BSB’s policy.