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.

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.

Our fees will typically be structured on the following bases:

Hourly Rates

Our Clerks will advise you of the hourly rate applicable to any barrister in Chambers and for any piece of work and this will be agreed in advance taking into account the nature of the case and its complexity, and the experience of the barrister instructed.

Brief and Refresher Fees for Hearings

Brief and refresher fees apply where court, tribunal or ADR work is required.

A brief fee would usually include all trial preparation and the fee for the first day spent in court and any work undertaken during the course of a trial that’s not covered by the refresher fees.

Refresher fees (or daily rate) cover each subsequent day spent at the hearing.

Brief fees and refresher fees are assessed and agreed taking into account the nature of the case and its legal and factual complexities, and the experience and standing of the specialist barrister instructed.

Conditional fee agreements

It is our policy not to offer the option of conditional fee agreements (CFA) otherwise know as ‘ no-win,no-fee’ to Direct Access clients. CFAs will only be offered to clients who have a Solicitor instructed. On receipt of case papers our members will risk assess the claim and we shall confirm to you if our counsel wishes to enter into such an agreement.

VAT

Value Added Tax is charged (at the prevailing rate) on all our fees unless those instructing us certify that that the fees are VAT-exempt pursuant to HMRC’s place of supply rules.

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 Standard Contractual Terms- Updated for-GDPR

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.

Fee examples

Small Claims Track

Small Claims track brief fees start from £300+vat for cases locally. Travel maybe charged for courts further a field.

Fast Track

Fast Track brief fees are charged 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. Travel may also be charged.

Hourly rates between £150-400 +vat per hour apply to any paperwork required such as Written opinions, drafting claims and statements etc.

Multi Track

Multi-Track fees are negotiated 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.

Financial Disputes in Divorce where Joint Assets are less than £300,000

Stage of Case Ranges of fixed fees – Estimates
Preliminary Advice in Writing or Conference Prior to 1st Appointment FDA £500-£1,000 + VAT
General Written or Advisory Work £150-400 + VAT per hour
General Drafting of Court Documents £ 150-400 + VAT per hour
First Appointment FDA Hearing £750-£2,000 + VAT
Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment (which includes FDA’s used as FDR) £1,200 – £3,000 + VAT
First day of Final Hearing £2,500 – £5,000 + VAT
Court Appearances per day after the first day of the final hearing £750 – £1,500 + VAT

All information is correct as at 1st January 2020 but the fees shown are estimates only. For a quotation, please contact the clerks either by telephone on 01727 843383 or by email clerks@stalbanschambers.com .

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 funded cases

For cases with a time estimate of 1 day or less

  • 1 working day prior to hearing – 100% of brief fee shall be payable
  • 2-3 full working days prior to hearing – 50% of brief shall be payable

For cases with a time estimate of over 1 day

  • Within 3 working days prior to hearing – 100%  of brief fee shall be payable
  • 4-5 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.