Contractual Terms & Charges

The Code of Conduct provides that barristers are obliged under the Cab Rank Rule to accept instructions which are offered either (a) on the Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services to Authorised Persons annexed to the Code (“the Bar Council Terms”) or (b) on terms which a barrister or the barrister’s chambers have published as the barrister’s standard terms of work.

At One Essex Court the barristers’ published standard terms of work are the terms agreed between The Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR) and the City of London Law Society (CLLS) (“the COMBAR/CLLS Terms”) on Payment Basis A.  Accordingly, barristers at One Essex Court are obliged under the Cab Rank Rule to accept instructions which are offered (a) on the Bar Council Terms or (b) on the current COMBAR/CLLS Terms on Payment Basis A.

Barristers at One Essex Court will, of course, consider alternative terms of engagement, or variations to the published Terms; but they are not obliged under the Cab Rank Rule to accept instructions on such terms.  It should also be noted that barristers at One Essex Court will not be applying the new contractual terms as a matter of routine to each and every new instruction, so neither the Bar Council Terms nor the COMBAR/CLLS Terms should be viewed as default terms.

Where the COMBAR/CLLS Terms are required in relation to a barrister’s services, these can be activated by the solicitor and the barrister completing the front sheet of the Terms and signing it.  Alternatively, it may be achieved by an email exchange confirming that the barrister and the solicitor intend to be bound by a contract incorporating the Terms, and setting out the information required by the front sheet of the Terms, together with any amendments agreed.  A barrister's clerk has authority for these purposes to enter into an agreement incorporating the Terms on behalf of a barrister.

If you have any questions or queries in relation to the implementation or application of these terms, then please contact Darren Burrows, the Senior Clerk, on +44 (0)20 7583 2000 or via e-mail to  Additional guidance issued by COMBAR and CLLS is available here.

The Agreement for the Supply of Legal Services by a Barrister in a Commercial Case (the current COMBAR/CLLS Barrister's Terms) can be downloaded here. The Bar Council terms can be downloaded here.

As you will note from the COMBAR/CLLS Terms, the services provided by barristers are generally charged on a time basis by reference to an agreed hourly rate.  In addition, barristers at One Essex Court also charge fixed fees (or brief fees and refreshers) for hearings.  This could be in respect of a court hearing, an arbitraiton, a mediation or some other form of oral advocacy.  The brief fee, which is a sum ordinarily negotiated and agreed with the barrister's clerk, will take account of a number of factors including (but not limited to), the required preparation, the complexity of the issues, the seniority and expertise of the advocate and any reservation of diary time.

Certain factors may influence the timescale within which the provision of legal services are supplied by members of One Essex Court.  Those include the complexity of the matter; the availability of the barrister and any relevant third parties; the volume of documents to review; any need for additional information or documents; lead times for court hearings and the urgency of the instructions.  Timescales for the delivery of legal services will be agreed in advance and prompt notification will be provided where unavoidable difficulties arise.

Professional, licensed access and/or lay clients (as appropriate) may contact the barrister or Chambers to obtain a quotation for legal services. Ideally, contact should be made through the Clerks' Room in the first instance:

e-mail:    Tel: +44 (0)20 7583 2000

Some members of One Essex Court are also able to accept instructions directly from members of the public (Public Access work).  For further information, you can view a copy of the Public Access Guidance for Lay Clients here.  As outlined above, barristers at One Essex Court generally charge for their services on an hourly basis, by reference to an agreed hourly rate according to their level of experience, the complexity of the case and the length of time involved in dealing with it.  It may be possible to agree fixed fees or capped costs for specific elements of work.  It is important that the cost to you, and when the fee is payable, is agreed before the barrister starts work. It is also important that the terms of the agreement are clear to both you and the barrister before the barrister starts work. You can view a copy of a Model Client Care Letter for Public Access work here.

It is important to instruct a barrister who specialises in the area of law for your case. If you do not know who to instruct, there are a number of ways of finding the right barrister. The Bar Council has an online directory of Public Access barristers called the Direct Access Portal: