How will I be charged?
30. A barrister usually charges according to their level of experience, the complexity of the case and the length of time involved in dealing with it. It is important that the cost to you, and the stage at which the fee is payable, is agreed at the outset, and that the terms of the agreement are clear to both you and the barrister.
31. There are no formal scales of fees for barristers’ work. The amount to be charged for any particular piece of work, and when the fee becomes payable, is a matter for negotiation between you, the barrister and their clerk. All public access barristers are independent self-employed practitioners, competing with each other. If you consider the fee proposed by one barrister to be too high, try another barrister.
32. Where the fee relates to a hearing, the barrister is normally entitled to the fee, regardless of whether or not the hearing goes ahead. If that is to be the case, the barrister should tell you at the outset. You may, if you wish, try to agree a different basis for payment of the fee in such a case.
33. In other cases (whether for a meeting or for a written advice), it may be possible to fix a fee in advance for the work. However, that will not be possible in every case. Where it is not possible, you should ask for an estimate. You may be able to agree with the barrister that there should be a “ceiling” on the fee charged for a particular piece of work.
34. If you agree a fee in advance of the work being done, then the barrister may require that fee to be paid before carrying out the work. Where a fee is not fixed in advance and the work involves the production of paperwork (for example, the drafting of a contract), the barrister may nevertheless require you to pay for the work after they have completed it and before releasing it to you. If that is to be the case, the barrister should tell you at the outset.
35. Conditional fee agreements (agreements under which a fee becomes payable only in the event of success in a case) are possible. However, it is unlikely that barristers will be willing or able to undertake public access work on a conditional fee basis, save in very rare cases. Again, this is matter of negotiation between you and the barrister.
36. The barrister is required to keep sufficient records to justify the fees that they are charging. You are entitled to ask for details to justify the fee that you are being charged.
Can a barrister stop acting for me after they have accepted my instructions?
37. Yes, but this will only happen in a small number of cases. There will be some rare occasions when the barrister has to stop acting for you. In public access cases, the For more information contact: the Professional Practice Team on 020 7611 1444 7 barrister must stop acting for you if they consider that the case is no longer suitable for public access. The barrister may be able to assist if, as a consequence of them no longer continuing to act for you, you will or may experience difficulties in relation to an imminent hearing.
38. In public access cases, a barrister is also required to cease to act where they have formed the view that it is in your interests or the interests of justice that you instruct a solicitor or other professional person. In such cases: a. Your barrister is under a continuing duty to consider whether your case remains a suitable case for public access. If they form the view that it is not, you will be advised of this fact. If you then instruct a solicitor or other professional person able to provide instructions to the barrister, they may continue to act for you. If you do not, your barrister must cease to act for you. b. If you are a party to proceedings (ie you have brought a case against another person or a case has been brought against you) in which a hearing is imminent, and you are likely to have difficulty in finding a solicitor in time for the hearing, your barrister should provide you with such assistance as is proper to protect your position. Although your barrister may not continue to work for you on a public access basis, they may be able to assist you by, for example: i) drafting letters for you to send, asking for an adjournment of the hearing; ii. writing a letter to the court in support of that application, explaining that they have had to withdraw and, if appropriate, explaining the reasons for doing so; and iii. assisting you to find a solicitor.