Client Care

 

Taking good care of every case

 

Our Barristers approach each case as a unique combination of the Client's needs, the history and circumstances of the matter in question, and the specific points of law that apply.

We follow a code of practice and established procedures in every case, to ensure efficiency, quality and consideration in the way we deal with our Clients and professional colleagues at all times.

 

Our Procedure:

 

Upon receipt of papers, the barrister will promptly determine if he/she is competent to undertake the work bearing in mind any conflicts of interest, time restrictions and funding arrangements.

 

  • Instructing Solicitors will be informed of any preparatory steps needed to be made and are kept up to date with progress.
  • Briefs or instructions are dealt with by the clerks professionally and efficiently and receipt is acknowledged within 24 hours.
  • Receipt of all papers is acknowledged by way of letter.
  • Communications from professional clients are recorded and delivered appropriately
  • Messages are checked regularly by Counsel and replies made by the end of that business day where practicable

 

Fees

 

Private (Solicitor-Client)

 

When a barrister is booked to attend court for a privately paying client, you will receive an invoice within seven days of the completion of the work and our payment terms are 30 days thereafter. All of the services we offer are bound by the new standard contractual terms as from the date of implementation on 31st January 2013. A copy of these terms is available here and can be viewed on the Bar Standards Board website at http://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/ .

 

Cancellation

 

Where a case is removed from Counsel’s diary at short notice a fee will normally be payable. This is to provide remuneration both for the preparatory work undertaken by counsel and to allow for the lost work. When a case is removed from a barrister’s diary at short notice, it is unlikely that we will be able to replace the lost work. As each barrister is self-employed, this could mean receiving no income each time a case is cancelled. The reason for the cancellation could be an agreed adjournment between the parties, the court removing the matter from the list, the case settling or some other unforeseen reason.

 

Where the court removes the case at short notice it may be possible for the client to claim their fees back through the HM Courts Complaints Procedure or else the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. More details can be found herehttps://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-courts-and-tribunals-service/about/complaints-procedure .

 

Our cancellation fees are:

 

For cases with a time estimate of 1 day or less

  • the full fee at 12 noon 2 working days before the hearing (e.g. for a Thursday case the fee is incurred at 12 noon on Tuesday)

 

For cases with a time estimate of over 1 day

  • 50% at 4 pm on the 5th calendar day before the hearing
  • the full fee at 4 pm 2 working days before the hearing

 

For cases with a time estimate of 5 days or more

  • 50% at 4 pm on the 10th calendar day before the hearing
  • the full fee at 4 pm 7 working days before the hearing

 

We are happy to discuss a waiver or reduction of these timescales in particular cases, however, in some larger cases, we may require them to be extended.

 

Delivery of the Brief

 

In order that cases can be properly prepared, please ensure the brief is delivered within the following time scale:

  • Up to 1 day in length – 3 working days before the hearing
  • From 2-5 days in length – 5 working days before the hearing
  • From 6-10 days in length – 10 working days before the hearing
  • Cases in excess of 10 days – to be agreed on a case by case basis 

 

Payment of fees

 

All of the barristers at St. Albans Chambers are self-employed and rely on regular cash flow for all of their income. All fees must, therefore, be paid within 30 days of a fee note being submitted for payment. If you think you may have some difficulty paying within this time scale you must contact the clerks prior to work commencing or at the earliest point within the 30-day period. Similarly, if there is any dispute over the level of fees or service provided this must be raised within the 30-day period.

 

As well as the traditional payment by cheque, we also accept payment by bank transfer and credit or debit card. 

 

Bank Transfer:-
Account Name: St. Albans Chambers
Bank: NatWest
Sort Code: 60 18 11
Account Number: 17014042

Please quote our case reference number on any payments.

 

Where our case reference is not quoted, we may not be able to cross-reference the payment and may assume the fee is still outstanding. Following confirmation that the funds are in our account, we will send out a receipt to confirm payment.

 

Credit/Debit Card

If you wish to pay by credit or debit card please telephone the clerks on 01727 843383.  We use the Worldpay portal for payments. The payer will receive a receipt shortly after payment has been received.

 

Legal Aid

 

In relation to criminal fees, St. Albans Chambers adopts the Bar Council's Graduated Fee Payment Protocol.

In relation to Family cases, we will send fee notes indicating the amount counsel has claimed whenever any work has been completed. These fees are always provisional and can be adjusted by the LAA. The fee notes are indicative of the likely fees and are provided to you to ensure the financial limit on the public funding certificate is not exceeded. The LAA normally write directly to you when counsel has been paid and with details of any reductions to counsel’s fees. We may, however, be appealing any reductions made and would ask you to contact us to confirm the position.

 

Public Funding Certificates

 

When you instruct counsel, please ensure that where it is available the brief to counsel includes the most up to date public funding certificate. Where no public funding certificate is in place or where the certificate does not cover the work undertaken by counsel we will look to you for payment of counsel’s fees. If this case is being dealt with under a VHCC or is likely to become a VHCC please could you contact the clerks at the earliest opportunity.

 

Content of Instructions for CCMS cases

 

The LAA insist that instructions to counsel clearly state:

  • what type of hearing counsel is instructed to attend upon
  • the estimated length of that hearing
  • the time the case is listed
  • the time counsel is ordered to attend (when it is earlier than the court start time)
  • that counsel is to advise the client in conference at court prior to the hearing

Without this information, it will be impossible to claim for counsel’s fees from the LAA and this may subsequently delay any claim you make.

 

Equal Opportunities and Non-Discrimination

 

St. Albans Chambers is committed to providing services which embrace diversity and that promote equality of opportunity. Our policy, which is prepared in accordance with the Equality and Diversity Rules of the Code of Conduct and the guidance, covers all aspects of Chambers including barristers, pupils, staff and relationships with clients.

 

Privacy & Cookies

GDPR: Privacy Notice

We are committed to protecting the personal data that you provide us and recognise the importance of being clear how we intend to use it. To read our privacy notice, please click here.

 

Non-Personal Information

In general, you can visit St. Albans Chambers on the World Wide Web without telling us who you are or revealing any information about yourself. Our web servers collect the domain names, not the e-mail addresses, of visitors. Also, we may collect and store other information about your visit on an anonymous, aggregate basis. This information may include the time and length of your visit, the pages you look at on our site, and the site you visited just before coming to ours. We may also record the name of your Internet service provider, browser type, and country of origin. We use this information only to measure site activity and to develop ideas for improving our site.

 

Personal Information

We may ask you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, such as name, e-mail address, mailing address or phone number (“Personal Information”). We use your Personal Information for three primary purposes: To enable you to find or gain access to information or services on our web site. To help us personalize the content or navigational choices presented to you in order to make your future experiences on our web site as efficient as possible. To allow us to inform you of news, special offers, new services and products, as well as updated information that may be especially pertinent to you. St. Albans Chambers will not provide your name, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number, or any other Personal Information to any third parties. If you don’t want St. Albans Chambers to send you e-mail or postal mail regarding our products, services, or special offers, do not check the appropriate check boxes requesting us to do so.

 

Cookies

“Cookies” are small pieces of information that are stored by your browser on your computer’s hard drive. Our cookies do not contain any personally identifying information. They only contain a secure identifying code that we use to match you to your Personal Information whenever you return to our site. Your Personal Information is never directly connected to nor stored on your computer, but is accessed when we identify your cookie to provide you with a more personalized experience when visiting our site.

 

What Information Do We Collect?

The type of information we maintain on our secure Personal Information server falls into two categories. The first is general information about you such as name, billing address, e-mail address, company name, etc. The second is product-specific information that enables us to customize information for you depending on which of our products or services you have purchased. We also store information about how you navigate our site so that when you return to it again, we may present you with a more efficient, personalized experience based on your interests and needs. St. Albans Chambers reserves the right to alter our privacy principles as business needs require. Any alterations to these principles will be posted on our web site in a timely manner. Please feel free to contact the webmaster with any questions, comments, or problems that might arise.

 

Cookies our website uses…

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Complaints

 

The aim of the barristers and staff of St. Albans Chambers is to provide all of our clients with the highest level of service at all times. However, if you have a complaint you are invited to let us know as soon as possible. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make your complaint but you are free to do so should you wish.

 

Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, also has a 6-year time limit from the date of the act or omission or 3 years from when the complainant should have reasonably known that there were grounds for a complaint. We must, therefore, have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether we are able to investigate complaints. 

 

The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the barrister's client are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chambers' investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.

 

It should be noted that it might not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. This is because the ability of Chambers to satisfactorily investigate and resolve such matters is limited and complaints of this nature are often better suited to the disciplinary processes maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if they feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the Chambers complaints process, they will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.

 

Complaints made by telephone

 

You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraph 7 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please telephone the Practice Manager. If the complaint is about the Practice Manager, you should telephone and ask to speak to the Chairman of the Complaints Panel. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. He will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved he will record the outcome, check that you are satisfied with the outcome and record that you are satisfied. You may also wish to record the outcome of the telephone discussion in writing.

If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone, you will be invited to write to us about it so it can be investigated formally.

 

Complaints made in writing

 

Please give the following details:

 

Your name and address;

  • Which member(s) of Chambers you are complaining about;
  • The detail of the complaint; and
  • What you would like done about it.

 

Please address your letter to Mr Alex Carter-Gaunt, the Practice Manager. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.

 

Our Chambers has a panel made up of experienced members of Chambers and a senior member of staff, which considers any written complaint. Within 14 days of your letter being received the head of the panel or his deputy in his absence, will appoint a member of the panel to investigate it. If your complaint is against the head of the panel, the next most senior member of the panel will investigate it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.

 

The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he has been appointed and that he will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If he finds later that he is not going to be able to reply within 14 days he will set a new date for his reply and inform you. His reply will set out:

 

The nature and scope of his investigation;

His conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his conclusion; and

If he finds that, you are justified in your complaint, his proposals for resolving the complaint.

 

Confidentiality

 

All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. Disclosure will be to the members of our management committee and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member or staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.

 

Our Policy

 

As part of our commitment to client care, we make a written record of any complaint and retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of six years. Our management committee inspects an anonymised record regularly with a view to improving services.

 

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman

 

If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation and you fall within their jurisdiction you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers, at the conclusion of our consideration of your complaint. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman has a twelve-month time limit from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining within which to make your complaint.

 

You can write to them at:

 

Legal Ombudsman

PO Box 6806,

Wolverhampton

WV1 9WJ

Telephone number: 0300 555 0333

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

 

If you are not the barrister's client and are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation then please contact the Bar Standards Board at:

 

Bar Standards Board

Professional Conduct Department

289-293 High Holborn

London

WC1V 7JZ

Telephone number: 0207 6111 444

Website: www.barstandardsboard.org.uk 

 

Our Expertise
 

St. Albans Chambers has recently formed Alban Resolution Centre to provide for the demand in mediations.

 

For miore information please click here

 

"I have always found St. Albans Chambers to be extremely reliable and professional!

 

Nita Bose, Solicitor, London Borough of Barnet (Barnet).