Section D6 of the Bar Standards Board Handbook requires all barristers to provide price and service transparency to ensure clients are provided with appropriate information to help them make informed choices and understand the price and service they will receive.
I recognise that it is important for you to have as much information as possible about the likely costs of engaging me before. While, it will not always be possible to provide certainty about the costs involved, I am committed to the maximum degree of openness with clients at the earliest possible stage.
In almost all cases, these discussions are dealt with on the barrister’s behalf by my clerks. Their details can be found here and clients are welcome to contact them to obtain a quote. The clerks are available on 020 7400 9600 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost of engaging me will vary depending upon a range of factors, some of which reflect the work you wish me to do:it may be relatively straightforward or it may be complex. It may require a large or modest volume of documents to be read. It may raise difficult legal issues or the applicable law may be well-known. The value of the legal rights involved, whether in terms of money or otherwise will vary. There may be urgency requiring the work to be done more quickly than would be usual.
The clerks are aware of the types of work done I undertake and of my general approaches to charging. The most common is that the barrister agrees to carry out the work on an hourly rate. The hourly rate varies depending upon the factors set out. I recognise that this arrangement leaves you with no limit on the cost of the work and to address this it is possible to agree either a “cap” (i.e. maximum) number of hours that will be charged or a fixed fee for the work (i.e. regardless of how many hours are actually spent).
However, before either of these alternatives is agreed it is usual for the barrister to ask to see the documents so that they can assess the work involved and provide a realistic figure for either the “cap” or the fixed fee.
Where the work is being done under Public Access (see below) there will be a specific client care letter.
I am often asked to estimate fees for work which will only take place in 12-18 months. While I will do my best to provide reliable estimates, it is important to recognise that given the uncertainty over how a dispute will develop, these are estimates, not quotations.
I am committed to providing the best service possible, whether for professional, licenced access or lay clients. This includes providing clients with reliable timescales for the return of work and communicating swiftly and clearly if for whatever reason a timescale that has been agreed is unlikely to be met.
The time that it will take to perform any work will depend upon a range of factors which will include:
- My availability when the work is accepted. An estimate can be made of the time taken to complete pre-existing commitments but sometimes these estimates prove wrong. Sometimes this means work is done sooner than expected, but sometimes is means the opposite.
- The complexity of the work. Work that requires more reading and research is likely to take longer to complete. Again, an estimate of the time the work is likely to take will always be given but this may prove to be unduly optimistic or pessimistic.
Sometimes delay is caused by ill-health or other urgent calls on my time.
Where the timescale estimated and agreed is unlikely to be met, the clerks should contact you before the time has expired to let you know and to explain the reasons.
Where the work depends upon the input of others (egs an opponent or an expert or witness) the barrister will obviously not be able to control their actions and so any time estimate will be subject to their being co-operative.