It is the policy of Spire Barristers to ensure that the needs, concerns and interests of the client are always paramount and discharged to the best of our ability by both our administration/clerking staff and individual members. Members are organised into practice groups covering our main areas of practice for the provision of services. The terms and conditions of business and timescales for completion of work are agreed wherever possible at the start of a case and the client is advised and kept fully informed of progress when problems are identified.
All of our Barristers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board, this link will take you to the Barristers Register Page of the BSB’s website to check their details. The Register holds details of all barristers who hold a current practising certificate, and whether a barrister has any disciplinary findings against them. All barristers hold professional indemnity insurance cover for all on the legal services that we supply.
Terms of Service
Spire Barristers operate under the Bar’s new standard contractual terms. Note that the new terms are our default position unless varied by written agreement. These changes will apply to all privately funded work and do not apply to publicly funded work or work funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement. A copy of the new terms is available here.
Professional, licensed access and/or lay clients may contact chambers to obtain a quotation for legal services;
When you contact chambers to book counsel the clerks will be able to advise you on the most appropriate person to undertake your matter. Should you enquire as to a specific counsel, the clerks will inform you of the individual’s diary availability. Inevitably, however, in a busy chambers there will be occasions where work has to be returned to another barrister – for example, because a case has over-run or because of listing changes by the Court. The clerks are in daily contact with Court listing officers, but solicitors will know the problems that late listing changes can cause. We have a strong policy not to double-book counsel without express agreement. If a case has to be returned, our clerks will suggest suitable alternative appropriate counsel. In the unusual event of us not being able to assist within Chambers, we will be able to advise you of alternatives.
Accepting Briefs and Instructions
Our client care letter and terms of business are sent to all new clients on the first occasion that work is received. Client requirements may be by way of brief for court, instructions for conference or instructions for written work. Any conflict of interest between the professional and lay client during a case is immediately brought to the attention of both parties by the member and appropriate advice provided to the lay client. All briefs are endorsed with the outcome and returned to the client once the case is completed.
Unless catered for separately under a Legal Aid Certificate, Service Level Agreement or Conditional Fee Agreement and all professional fees are agreed on a case be case basis. The most commonly used method of charging we use is a fixed fee agreement made in advance of the work being undertaken. In some exceptional cases where it would be preferred by the client or due to the uncertainty of the level of work to be undertaken, an hourly rate would be agreed in advance and, where possible, a “cap” be agreed in place. The level of fees to be calculated will take into account the experience and seniority of the Barrister undertaking the work along with the actual amount of work involved to complete. All of our barristers are registered for VAT individual registration number can be provided on request.
In providing our expertise we aim to set and adhere to strict timelines so as to give clients certainty. Please be aware that issues such as changes to court listing timetables, changes to instructions and unexpected events may occasionally impact on delivery deadlines. The Code of Conduct guides barristers in relation to these matters and our barristers adhere to the Code of Conduct. In those circumstances our clerks will seek to immediately advise clients and agree alternative arrangements so as to ensure your case is not negatively impacted. Factors which determine how long it will take to deliver the services you require include:
- The availability of the barrister where a specific barrister is requested
- The availability of the client or relevant third parties;
- The complexity of the case;
- The amount of papers you need to review;
- The need for additional information or documents;
- The approach taken by the other side;
- Third parties intervening in the case; and
- Court waiting times.
- All individual barristers and chambers itself are registered with the Information Commissioners Office.
Feedback from Clients
The Senior Clerk informally discusses Chambers’ performance from time to time with clients and obtains feedback regarding the extent to which the services provided meet clients’ expectations. Clients are also sent evaluation forms by post. These are sent on a sampling basis by barrister/ solicitor/finished case. The returns of the evaluation forms are recorded in a report by the Office Manager which is reviewed by the Management Committee and actions are agreed to improve performance.
We hope that you will not have cause to complain about our service but do recognise that, even in the best run organisations, things can go wrong or are less than perfect. Chambers has a formal complaints procedure whereby each barrister and member of staff is personally responsible for complying with Chambers client care and complaints policy in respect of their own dealing with clients. Should a complaint, either formal or informal be necessary see our Complaints Procedure.
All complaints will be progressed and resolved promptly and effectively with the aim of notifying the client of the outcome as soon as possible. Should your complaint not be resolved to your satisfaction or has not been dealt with within 8 weeks then clients have a further avenue of complaint via the Legal Ombudsman.
You can write to the Legal Ombudsman at:
PO Box 6806,
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333.
More information about the Legal Ombudsman is available on their website:
You must complain to the Legal Ombudsman either within six years of your barrister’s actions/failure to act, or no later than three years after you should reasonably have known there were grounds to complain. You must also complain to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving your barrister’s final response to your complaint.
All decisions from the Legal Ombudsman’s office can be viewed here.
N.B The contents of this page were last reviewed on 11th January 2021.Please do not hesitate to contact us