Service standards

Garden Court North Chambers is a Barristers’ Chambers regulated by The Bar Standards Board. Our Members, Pupils and staff act in accordance with the regulatory requirements of the Bar Standards Board Handbook. We are committed to maintaining and improving our quality and practice management standards.

On this page you will find details of Chambers’ Terms of Business including our Quality Policy and Standards Charter.

  • The Barrister's Register & Professional Indemnity Insurance

    Members of Chambers have current practising certificates and professional indemnity insurance for the legal services they provide. The insurance is provided through the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund (BMIF) and all Members have at least the minimum level of cover of £500,000.

    The Barrister’ Register page on the Bar Standards Board’s website shows which barristers have a current practising certificate and whether a barrister has any disciplinary findings. The Barristers’ Register can be found here

  • Standard Contractual Terms

    In the absence of an express agreement to the contrary, Members of Garden Court North Chambers accept instructions on the same terms set out in The Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorised Persons 2020 as referred to in Rule rC30.9c of the BSB Handbook and the Contractual Terms for Civil (non-family) Legal Aid Work.

    We adhere to the Bar Council’s Code of Practice in respect of issue of payment reminder, progressing payment of our fees and credit control in general.

  • Terms of Business 

    Briefs for hearings, instructions and diary appointment bookings for Counsel will be acknowledged by email on the day of receipt.

    Chambers operates in a paperless environment and we require all case papers (briefs, court papers, trial bundles and other documents) to be sent to Chambers’ Practice Management Team by e-mail.

    Attachments should be sent to us  in numbered PDFs with all documents copied and collated in number order, using the case name to number each attachment (e.g. ‘Smith 1, Smith 2 etc). The covering e-mail should detail the contents of the attachments and the number of pages.

    Unless specifically requested to the contrary, Chambers will not return any hard copy papers to you at the end of the case. Hard copy papers will be confidentially shredded and this will be recorded on the LEX case management system.  Please bear this in mind when sending original documents to Chambers.

  • Turnaround times 

    All instructions to Counsel should be sent via the Practice Management Team. In appropriate circumstances, solicitors can send instructions to Counsel for paperwork without previously contacting a member of the Practice Management Team, but when this happens the nominated barrister may not be able to accept the instructions.

    An initial examination will be undertaken within 7 days, for acceptance of paperwork and to check for conflict of interest. Any problems will be notified to the client immediately and appropriate action agreed.

    If a solicitor requires the work to be completed earlier than 21 days from receipt then he/she should indicate this on the covering e-mail. If the instructions need to be completed within 5 working days of receipt then they should be marked “Urgent” and if they are to be done within 24 hours of receipt then it should be marked “Very Urgent”;

    Instructions for work to be completed in less than 21 days should not be sent without the Practice Management Team’s previous agreement. The Practice Management Team will provide as much assistance as possible to allocate urgent instructions to a Member of Chambers.

    Chambers operates an internal paperwork reminder system to support Members of Chambers in meeting paperwork deadlines. There may be times when turnaround of instructions is delayed, such as due to the illness of the Barrister instructed. If a time limit is to be exceeded then a member of the Practice Management Team will make contact with those instructing to explain and to seek an extension of time. Factors which can effect the timescales of a Barrister’s work include:

    • The Barrister’s availability;
    • The availability of the client or third party;
    • The complexity of a case;
    • The volume of papers required to be reviewed;
    • The need to request additional documents;
    • The intervention of third parties on the case; and
    • Court and Tribunal waiting times.
  • Quality Policy

    Garden Court North Chambers aims to continue to provide a wide range of expertise as advocates and advisors in criminal, immigration and asylum, housing, inquests and public inquiries, Court of Protection, family, welfare rights, civil actions, prison law, public law, discrimination, community care & mental health and International law.

    Chambers is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and we are committed to maintaining, developing and improving our Quality and Practice Management Standards. This quality policy underpins the business operations of Garden Court North Chambers.

    Members, Associate Members, Pupils and staff provide the highest levels of service at all times and our Barristers are committed to providing the highest levels of advocacy and associated legal services to meet or exceed the expectations of their clients.

    Our key quality objectives are:

    • To deal with clients in a friendly, courteous and efficient manner;
    • To maintain high quality clerking skills with care and attention to detail;
    • To maintain an open and flexible approach to fee structures;
    • To deliver services through the most appropriate means to the client whilst maximizing the using of new technology for speed and efficiency;
    • To agree turnaround times for paperwork and adhere to agreed targets; and
    • To give professional clients prompt information regarding the progress of their case.

    We are committed to a comprehensive and developing policy of assuring the quality of our service. This is ensured through the implementation and maintenance of clear policies and procedures which are adhered to by all Members and staff.

    All barristers and employees contribute to maintaining and improving the quality of the service we provide. Our meeting structure encourages a policy of open communication and involvement to create an innovative environment. Resources and training requirements are regularly reviewed for individual employees and barristers and for Chambers as a whole to ensure that all individuals are able to develop their skills and fulfill their roles in the implementation of our quality system.

    Overall responsibility for ensuring compliance with our quality system by our members lies with our Head of Chambers, Mark George QC.

    Chambers’ Head of Practice Management, Annmarie Nightingale, has overall responsibility for ensuring that the policies, procedures and standards defined in the quality system are implemented and maintained. Feedback is welcomed and Annmarie available to speak to should you wish to discuss any aspect of the service Chambers provides.

    In order to ensure compliance with the standards we have set ourselves, and in order to continue to improve the service we offer we shall do the following:

    • Implement a structured preventative action procedure;
    • Measure our compliance with our standards at regular intervals;
    • Hold regular team meetings to monitor the achievement of standards and policies and set objectives for continuing improvement; and
    • Regularly review our quality systems and survey our clients to ensure that our policies and service are always focused on client needs.
  • Standards Charter

    Office Hours

    Office hours are 9.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.00am to 5.30pm on Fridays. In emergencies, a member of the Practice Management Team can be contacted via answerphone service.

    Telephone Calls

    Telephone calls are answered by the Practice Management Team. Messages can be left with a member of the Practice Management Team who will pass the message on to the relevant person. Calls will be returned as soon as possible.

    Faxes

    The fax machine operates around the clock and converts faxes to e-mails which are  received directly by the Practice Management Team’s general e-mail during office hours. This ensures efficient notification of documents received by fax.

    E-mails

    Both the Practice Management Team’s general and secure e-mail inboxes are set to automatically receive every 10 minutes. Members of the Practice Management Team check for unread mail and distribute messages and documents throughout the day.

    The Practice Management Team members operate a colour coding system to ensure that all incoming e-mails are allocated to the appropriate members of staff and an automatic response is sent to the recipient which says:

    ‘Thank you for your email to Garden Court North Chambers. It has been safely received.
    Whilst we endeavour to respond to your email promptly it is not always possible to do so at particularly busy times. We aim to respond to particularly urgent emails straight away. If you haven’t received a response to an urgent email within an hour then please contact us by telephone on 0161 817 6377. All non urgent emails will be responded to within 24 to 48 hours.

    This inbox is regularly checked between 9.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Thursday and 9am and 5.30pm on a Friday’

    Each Practice Management Team member has their own e-mail address which is given out on request. The ‘Avast’ Anti Virus Checker is used and automatically flashes a virus warning on the screen.

    Royal Mail and Document Exchange (DX)

    All Royal Mail and DX is opened, date stamped and distributed to barristers on the date received. Mail that is addressed to the “Clerk to” will be opened, read and dealt with by the Practice Management Team. Mail addressed to the barrister by name only and marked Private, will be put unopened into the barrister’s pigeonhole.

    We endeavour to deal with all other correspondence within 5 working days.

    Accepting Instructions

    When a solicitor or other adviser requires advice on which barrister would be most suitable for a particular case the Practice Management Team are available to assist. Where instructions for written or oral advocacy are received, the Practice Management Team will liaise with those instructing to allocate Counsel in accordance with Chambers’ Fair Allocation of Work Protocol.   A Barrister will not be double booked without the agreement of the solicitors concerned. However, where a brief is not forwarded to chambers within 7 days of the telephone booking the barrister may be booked for another case unless the booking has been confirmed in writing by the solicitor.

    An initial examination will be undertaken within 7 days, for acceptance of instructions and to check for any conflict of interest. Any problems will be notified to the client immediately and appropriate action agreed.

    Court work

    A barrister instructed to attend court will be present at least 30 minutes prior to the hearing unless other arrangements have been made.

    Conferences

    Conferences usually take place in Chambers, but where there is good reason, they can be held at other locations by arrangement.  Access to Chambers is compliant with the Equality Act 2010.

    Chambers has been made COVID secure and a copy of Chambers’ Risk Assessment can be found here.

  • Equal Opportunities

    Garden Court North Chambers is committed to the implementation and promotion of equal opportunities and to ensuring an absence of direct or indirect discrimination on grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, religious belief, political persuasion or age.

  • General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

    Chambers is committed to safeguarding the privacy of all personal data that comes into our possession. Members of Chambers are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) individually. Full details of how Chambers collects, controls and processes personal data in line with both GDPR requirements and Bar Council guidance can be found here.

Please click here for information regarding fees

For information on Chambers’ Complaints Procedure please click here

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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