Basis of Fees

Garden Court North Chambers operates a transparent and flexible approach to the fees we charge for legal services and our members are always willing to consider individual requirements. Details of our commonly used charging structures for both legal aid and privately funded work are detailed below.

All time engaged on written and advocacy work is recorded on the LEX Case Management System. Recording work items ensures that the fees charged can be substantiated by the specific work activities of the barrister. We provide detailed fee notes and claim forms at the point of billing and the Practice Management Team are available to explain any aspect of the fee calculations upon request.

Cases are interim billed with updated fee notes and Legal Aid CF1A claim forms being rendered and e-mailed to those instructing throughout the life of the case. Copies of fee notes and CF1A claim forms can be obtained from the Practice Management Team.

We no longer accept payment of fees by cheque. Details of Chambers’ bank account are provided on the fee note and are included in the fee quotes we provide. Please contact Chambers’ Finance Manager, Sylvan Tait, should you need to discuss payment of fees.

Any solicitor who’s name appears on the ‘List of Defaulting Solicitors’ will be expected to pay fees by cleared funds in advance of work being undertaken. Instructions will not be accepted without cleared funds unless the barrister concerned instructs otherwise.

For certain cases we will ask for payment of private funds a minimum of 48 hours in advance of the work being undertaken by Counsel. This will be communicated to you by the Practice Management Team at the point the fees for the work are agreed. The timescale for advanced payment will be less than 48 hours in instances where the work is required on a more urgent basis.

Fee Quotes for Legal Services

Should you wish to obtain a quote for any of the legal services Chambers provides, a member of the Practice Management Team would be happy to assist you.

To be able to provide the quotation, the Practice Management Team will ask you to provide sufficient information about the case to enable the Barrister to estimate the amount of time involved in the work they are being asked to do. The Practice Management Team will provide the fee quotation in writing, by e-mail. We always endeavor to provide the fee quotations within 14 days but should there be any delay in providing the fee quotation, the Practice Management Team will keep you fully updated. If the quotation is required sooner than the standard 14 days, we ask that this be made clear to the Practice Management Team on the covering e-mail. There is no charge for the time a Barrister takes to review the initial papers in order to provide a quotation.

Further quotations can be provided throughout the life of a case for all funding arrangements. We reserve the right to revise a quotation should further work become necessary which Counsel was not aware of at the point of the quotation request.

VAT

VAT is charged across all of Chambers’ services. If your case is VAT exempt please advise the Practice Management Team at the point of instruction and this will be recorded on the LEX Case Management System. The Barrister’s VAT registration number is available on the individual’s fee notes and payment receipts; copies of which can be provided on request to the Practice Management Team.

Civil Legal Aid

For certificated cases, we ask that a copy of the funding certificate is provided with the instructions/ brief to Counsel and further updated copies provided as the scope of the certificate is extended throughout the life of the case. This is to ensure the work Counsel is requested to undertake is covered by the scope of the certificate and to allow for payment on account applications to be made to the Legal Aid Agency on Counsel’s behalf. To assist you in ensuring there are sufficient funds on the certificate please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Practice Management Team to request up to date cost estimates during the life of the case.

We request that at the point of instruction Counsel is assigned and sufficient funds allocated for Counsel on the Legal Aid Agency’s Client and Costs Management System (CCMS).

Fees for all legal aided funded matters are charged at the Legal Aid Agency prescribed rates for Counsel in accordance with the Civil Legal Aid Remuneration Regulations.

We accept instructions on hourly rate and fixed fee funded cases.

Private Funding

The fees for all privately funded instructions are agreed in advance of the work being undertaken. Counsel’s fees remain payable irrespective of whether those instructing have been placed in funds.

When providing a quotation, we take into account the following factors:

  • Estimated time required for preparation;
  • Estimated time to be spent in Court;
  • Case complexity;
  • The amount/issues at stake;
  • Seniority of the barrister;
  • Whether an abnormal workload was placed on the barrister through late instruction/urgency of the work etc;
  • The degree to which specialist knowledge is required;
  • Travelling/expenses likely to be incurred; and
  • Means of client.

The fees are calculated at Counsel’s standard private hourly rate according to the seniority of the Barrister.

The above factors are used to calculate the fees for written work, interim/ pre-trial hearings, conferences and trials.

For trials, it is standard practice for a ‘Brief Fee’ to be charged for the trial preparation and the first day in Court. For trials which last more than one day, an additional ‘Refresher fee’ will be charged per day for all subsequent days. The refresher fees take into account any additional preparation required by Counsel during the course of the trial.

Criminal Legal Aid 

For work in the Crown Court, Barristers accept instructions under The Revised Advocacy Graduated Fee Scheme (RAGFS) as set out in The Criminal Defence Service (Funding) Order.

A copy of The Graduated Fee Payment Protocol can be downloaded here

For work in the Magistrates’ Court matters are charged at the Legal Aid Agency prescribed rates for Counsel in accordance with the Remuneration Regulations. We accept instructions on both an hourly rate and fixed fee basis. Fees can be discussed and agreed with the Practice Management Team.

Inter Partes Costs

When we are notified that a case has settled on an inter partes basis, the Practice Management Team will obtain Counsel’s final billing and an inter partes fees note will be provided. A copy of Chambers’ Inter Partes Costs Terms can be viewed by clicking the link below:

GCN Inter Partes Costs Terms 2021 

Direct Public Access 

A number of our Barristers are Public Access qualified and are therefore able to accept cases directly from members of the public or other professionals who seek legal advice and/ or representation of behalf of their clients.

Additional information on (Direct) Public Access could be found here. The Bar Standards Board’s Guidance for Lay Clients also provides very useful information and can be found by clicking the link below:

Public-Access-Guidance-for-Lay-Clients (1)

Subject to the type of work the Barrister is being asked to undertake, the fees can be quoted at a fixed fee or at hourly rates. Where applicable VAT will be charged on all fees.

When quoting fees for Public Access work the following factors will be taken into account:

  • Area of law
  • Estimated time required for preparation;
  • Estimated time to be spent in Court;
  • Case complexity;
  • The amount/issues at stake;
  • The seniority of the Barrister;
  • The degree to which specialist knowledge is required; and
  • Travelling/expenses likely to be incurred

When a Barrister accepts instructions in a Public Access case, they will provide you with a Client Care letter which includes information confirming the terms upon which the services of the Barrister are engaged; a description of the work to be undertaken, the fee for the work and the payment method. In some circumstances, a Barrister may offer you an initial meeting to discuss your case for a fixed fee. In ongoing cases, you will be provided with additional Client Care letters at each stage of the case which set out the additional costs for the further work.

Once the fees have been agreed, the fees are payable before the Barrister can begin work on your case. This includes ongoing matters.

Chambers’ flexible approach to fees means that you will be continuously and fully informed at each stage of the case as to what the costs of the Barrister’s fees will be. Should you wish to discuss any element of the fees quoted we invite you to contact a member of the Practice Management Team who will be happy to help you.

It is important to note that Barristers can only accept legal aid work when instructed by a Solicitor and therefore can not accept legal aid work under the (Direct) Public Access Scheme. It is important that you make an informed decision about whether to apply for legal aid. You can find out more information on the gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid

Whether or not you qualify for public funding, you might like to consider whether you have any insurance policies that might cover your legal fees, or if the fees may be paid by someone else, for example a trade union.More information can be found on the Legal Choices website at: https://www.legalchoices.org.uk/legal-choices/money-talks/after-the-event-insurance/

Conditional Fee Agreements

In certain circumstances and for certain areas of law, Barristers in Chambers will consider the acceptance of instructions under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This can be on a ‘no win, no fee’ or a ‘no win, reduced fee’ basis. For more information please speak to a member of the Practice Management Team.

Where a case is accepted under a CFA, you will be provided with a written Conditional Fee Agreement which will detail the basis on which Counsel accepts instructions. We require a signed copy of the written agreement to be returned to Chambers prior to Counsel commencing work on a case.

If you require any of the above information in an alternative format, please contact a member of the Practice Management Team

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