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” – available here) 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 with a limitation of liability pursuant to clause 20.3 of the General Terms of £2.5 million (unless a higher amount is agreed, in which case it is the higher amount) (the “Standard Terms”). The COMBAR/CLLS Terms are available here.
These standard terms of work apply to all barristers in Chambers with the exception of pupils and barristers in their first six months of tenancy, whose standard terms of work are the COMBAR/CLLS Terms on Payment Basis A with a limitation of liability pursuant to clause 20.3 of the General Terms of £500,000, unless a higher amount is agreed in which case it is the higher amount.
A sample of the COMBAR/CLLS Terms completed to reflect the Standard Terms is at this link.
It is expected that anyone who instructs a barrister at One Essex Court will give consideration to the terms of their engagement and will propose alternatives or variations to the Standard Terms if they wish to do so, including to the amount of the limitation of liability. Barristers at One Essex Court will, of course, consider alternative terms of engagement, or variations to the Standard Terms. But they are not obliged under the Cab Rank Rule to accept instructions on any terms other than the Bar Council Terms or the Standard Terms.
If the person who wishes to instruct the barrister gives no indication that they intend to seek any alternative or varied terms and does not say that they wish the Bar Council Terms to apply, the Standard Terms will apply with a limitation of liability of £2.5 million.
If the proposed alternative or varied terms are the COMBAR/CLLS Terms with the selection of options which are different from the Standard Terms, these can be activated by the solicitor and the barrister completing the front sheet of the COMBAR/CLLS Terms identifying the chosen options 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 COMBAR/CLLS 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Additional guidance issued by COMBAR and CLLS is available 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 arbitration, 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.
Court fees and charges are not included in a barrister’s proposed or agreed professional fees and UK VAT is applicable on all fees, unless the client is zero rated/non-resident for UK VAT and can produce the necessary written evidence [as required by HMRC] to support our billing on a zero rate basis.
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: email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)20 7583 2000
Public Access Work
Some members of One Essex Court are also able to accept instructions directly from members of the public (Direct or 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. If additional work is required beyond that already agreed, then you will be notified of any potential extra costs before that work is undertaken. VAT will be charged in addition to the professional fees of the barrister, if applicable. 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.
The Public Access Work undertaken by some of the members here is generally that identified on their individual CV, but falls broadly into the commercial disputes field, which includes but is not limited to banking and finance, civil fraud, company law, professional discipline and tax law.
Chambers aims to respond promptly and efficiently to your enquiries and you should expect to hear back from those you instruct in a timely fashion. If for reasons of competing professional requirements this is not possible, then a member of the Clerks team will contact you to advise of timeframes for work or a response in any particular case.
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 and a link to that is available here.
Barrister members of One Essex Court are regulated by the Bar Standards Board and are included in an online BSB database which displays details of all barristers who are authorised to practise in England and Wales and who have a current practising certificate. You are able to view the status of the indivdual barrister's authority to practise here.
If, in the unlikely event you are dissatisfied with the service you receive from Chambers and you wish to complain, then you can register a complaint via our internal Complaints Procedure, the details of which are available here.
Alternatively, you can contact the Bar Standards Board on 020 7611 1444 to ask about this or e-mail ContactUs@BarStandardsBoard.org.uk