Brief – Delivery of the Papers

In order to provide the best possible service to both those Instructing and the Lay Client, it is essential that Counsel has the opportunity to fully consider all papers adequately prior to any hearing or conference. It is becoming increasingly common, and in many cases a requirement, for skeleton arguments to be lodged in advance of any hearing. In such instances it is essential that briefs be delivered to counsel within the following time scales:

Small Claims / Fast Track Cases

  • Up to 1 day in length – 3 working days prior to any conference or hearing

Fast Track (Skeleton Arguments to be lodged) / Multi Track Cases

  • From 2-5 days in length – 7 working days before the hearing
  • From 6-10 days in length – 10 working days before the hearing

St Albans Chambers realises that e-mail is a quick and easy way to communicate and allows you to send relevant information. We are happy to receive documents / Papers via email if that is preferred. If sending papers by email we would ask that these are sent in an orderly fashion (all documents / attachments named and numbered) to enable Counsel to work electronically or for ease of printing.

Terms and Conditions – Private (Solicitor-Client)

When a barrister is booked to attend court for a privately paying client, you will receive an invoice shortly after the work has been completed. Our payment terms are 30 days from the date of invoice. 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/ .

Therefore, unless otherwise agreed in advance, any new instructions will proceed on the basis of these standard terms. This does not apply to Direct Access, work involving a public funding certificate or matters subject to a Conditional Fee Agreement.

Fees

We have a realistic, transparent and flexible approach to fees. We aim to provide a high quality service at competitive rates and our Clerking team are always on hand to discuss your requirements.

Small Claims brief fees

Small track brief fees start from £250+vat for small cases locally. Travel maybe charged for courts further a field.

Fast Track brief fees

Fast Track brief fees are in accordance with the Fixed costs for advocates and the following fees apply for junior Counsel in cases assigned to the Fast Track.

Value Claimed                                                                                                    Fast Track Fixed Trial Costs
Up to £3,000                                                                                                                            £500
More than £3,000 but not more than £10,000                                                                  £710
More than £10,000 but nor more than £15,000                                                                £1070
More than £15,000 but no more than £25,000                                                                 £1705

The above fees are charged irrespective of the geographical venue of the trial and attract no uplift, save for VAT and any conditional fee uplift, where appropriate.

Multi Track brief fees

Multi-Track fees are negotiated in the traditional way, giving consideration to a number of factors, including the seniority and experience of the barrister, the complexity of the matter, the value of claim and the length of time involved in preparation and attending Court as appropriate.

We understand that in some cases matters may settle or are vacated at the last minute, negating the need for a hearing. When a booking is made in Counsels diary, whether or not the brief has actually been delivered, and is removed at short notice, a fee will be deemed 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 a case at short notice it may be possible for the client to claim their fees back through the HM Courts Complaints Procedure. More details can be found herehttps://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-courts-and-tribunals-service/about/complaints-procedure .

Our cancellation fees are:

For all Private / Insurer funded cases

For cases with a time estimate of 1 day or less

  • 1 full working day prior to hearing – 100% of brief fee shall be payable
  • 3 full working days prior to hearing – 50% of brief shall be payable

For cases with a time estimate of over 1 day

  • 3 working days prior to hearing – 100%  of brief fee shall be payable
  • 5 working days prior to hearing – 50% of brief fee shall be payable

For cases with a time estimate of over 3 days

  • Within 7 days of the hearing – 100% of brief fee shall be payable
  •  7-14 days prior to hearing – 50% of brief fee shall be payable

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

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.

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.

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.

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.