I have a client of very limited means and they would struggle to afford the low figure in the fees scales can you offer a cheaper rate?
Wherever possible we will try and assist your clients. Please contact us and we will do whatever we can to help you find a barrister for a price your client can afford.
Do the fees in the scales include VAT?
All fees quoted are normally subject to the addition of VAT at the appropriate rate. We do have some barristers who are not VAT registered and we will inform you when you enquire if VAT does not apply.
If I quote my client fees on the basis of these scales will you honour that quote?
The mid level fees are based on a standard case of this type and length, provided the case fits these criteria then we will have no problem providing a barrister at the rates set out in the scale. If however upon receipt of papers the case is clearly far more complex than the norm then we will look to revisit the original quote.
I have a case which doesn’t fit the Children/Finance categories - how will that be charged?
Please contact us to discuss any cases which don’t fall within these categories. If you need a very rough estimate then feel free to use the most appropriate of the two fee scales as a rough guide.
I don’t want/need a conference before the final hearing - can I have a reduced fee?
We would ask in cases where either you or the client feels a conference is unnecessary to set out your reasons so we can pass them on to counsel to consider. We normally insist on a conference before the final hearing because the benefits normally far outweigh any downside. If however it simply isn’t possible to hold a conference prior to the final hearing then we will take this into account when calculating the fee.
Can you take payment direct from the client?
Yes. We ask that you let the clerks know before the client attempts to make payment so that we can ensure we don’t inadvertently refer them back to you.
I can’t deliver the papers in your timescales because the other side are preparing the bundle and they haven’t provided it to us, what should I do?
In these circumstances we ask you to get in touch to let us know, we can let counsel know who can then arrange their diary accordingly.
Why should the client have to pay when the court has decided to adjourn the case the day before the hearing?
Since LASPO the courts are under more and more pressure due to the higher numbers of litigants in person. This has inevitably led to situations where the court lists more work than can be completed in a day in the hope that cases settle in advance. When enough cases do not settle the courts are left with too much work and not enough judges and so have to adjourn cases at short notice. We have seen a marked increase in cases being adjourned the day before the hearing. By this point counsel will be fully prepared and will also find it very difficult to replace the lost work caused by the late adjournment. All of our barristers are self employed and will therefore potentially receive no income for the work done and have very little chance of replacing the lost work. In these circumstances we simply cannot swallow those lost costs. The client can seek redress by complaining to HM Courts and ultimately to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. There is little information about this type of complaint but there is a record of one such complaint being successful and the barrister’s fee is specifically referred to as a wasted cost and that the court should reimburse the client: https://www.freemovement.org.uk/compensation-awarded-for-hearing-cancelled-at-short-notice/
The case has been adjourned at short notice but it will be booked back in counsel’s diary, why should the client pay for the preparation?
Unless the case is going to be relisted within a matter of days then that preparation is effectively wasted. In between the date of the adjournment and the date of the relisted hearing counsel will deal with several other cases. It is impossible for counsel to retain all of the details of each case in their head for a period of months. Counsel will need to re-read all of the case papers and their notes in order to be prepared for the relisted hearing. There is also no guarantee that the relisted hearing will be fixed for a date when counsel is available.
The client has not paid counsel’s fees to me as promised and the work has now been done - are you going to apply the late payment penalties and potentially sue me?
In cases like this we urge you to contact us as soon as you know there is a problem and we can work on a solution together. We will however seek to escalate matters where there is no engagement from our professional clients when we chase for payment.
The client has fallen on hard times and is struggling to pay all of counsel’s fees at once, what can we do?
Where the client is suffering financial hardship we will consider payment by regular instalments however should a client default on an agreed instalment plan we may seek to charge the late payment penalties.
The late payment penalties seem harsh why are you enforcing them now?
All of our barristers are self employed, they receive no salary for the work they do and rely on prompt payment from our clients to ensure steady cash flow. We must ensure our barristers are paid for the work they do or else they risk genuine financial hardship. We also seek to provide competitive rates for the work we do, if we have to spend large sums on chasing bad debts it will impact on barrister's incomes and this cost will inevitably be passed on to our clients.
I’m not happy about being liable for counsel’s fees even if the client doesn’t pay me, can we vary this part of the standard terms?
One potential alternative is that we contract direct with the client, though if we did this we would insist on payment up front before the work is completed. Because each case is unique we would need to discuss it in advance of the work being done.