Public Access

In addition to receiving instructions from or through a Solicitor certain Barristers, who have undertaken the appropriate training, are now able to accept instructions directly from individuals and commercial organisations under the Public Access Scheme. Public access is operated under the guidance of The Bar Standards Board, and full details and guidance can found by clicking here. If you wish to receive the information below in an alternative format please let us know.

Our Barristers who are Public Access Accredited are not authorised additionally to Conduct Litigation.

The Barristers in chambers practise in the fields of Family & Public Law.  Our barristers advise and represent clients under the Public Access Scheme:

  • In relation to private law family proceedings in the Family Courts
  • In relation to family finance issues arising from divorce and separation in the County and Family Courts
  • In relation to Health & Welfare matters in the Court of Protection

Fees: We will provide you with a fees quote as soon as possible, free of charge.  We will always aim to set out the quotes clearly but if you receive a quote and there is something that you do not understand, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Our barristers most often charge fixed fees payable in advance one a quote is accepted for the work to be done.  Alternatively if appropriate the work to be done can be undertaken on an agreed hourly rate basis – See below for indicative hourly rates. The costs in respect of a public access case will depend on a number of factors. They include:

  • The volume of documents
  • The tasks you need your barrister to carry out (for example, it will cost more if the barrister assists you in drafting statements, court forms and sifting evidence than it would if they are simply advising on the hearing)
  • The length of the hearing
  • Seniority of barrister
  • Location of the case
  • The complexity of the case
  • The time it takes to prepare
  • Any novel points of law or additional research

Indicative Fees for a Family Finance case, where the assets do not exceed £500,000, being undertaken by a barrister of 8-12 years call will be in the range of:

Written Advice £800-£1,200 plus VAT,  Drafting Statements £600-£1,000 plus VAT,  Advising in Conference £1,000-£1,750 plus VAT, First Appointment £1,250-£2,500 plus VAT, Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing £1,750-£3,250 plus VAT, Final Hearing £2,000-£5,000 plus VAT

We will always provide you with a clear pricing structure for handling your case and we will return your documents to you free of charge if you decide you don’t want to use our services having provided that quote to you. You will be asked to pay in advance before any work is undertaken. This means you will never be charged for work that you have not already agreed one of our barristers should carry out.

If your case requires any additional work we will contact you in advance, explain why the additional work is necessary and take your clear instructions on whether you want us to carry out the work or not. Again, we will ask for payment in advance of carrying out additional work.

The agreement will be stated in a written contract. We do not accept payment by Credit or Debit Card. The most common payment method is BACS transfer directly into our chambers fees account. We are also accustomed to receiving cheques for payment, which must be cleared prior to the work being undertaken.

If a chargable hourly is agreed to be preferable for your case public access barristers cost anywhere between £150 and £600 per hour plus VAT, depending on seniority and experience and the factors detailed above, based on the indicative illustration above that level of barrister for that type of case would attract an hourly rate of £250 + VAT per hour. Please discuss the pricing of our barristers with our clerking team. Where a fixed fee is agreed it will be based on the clerk’s expert knowledge as to how long any individual case is likely to require. Fees will not include VAT, but VAT is still chargeable on top, but that will be made clear to you both in advance and in the written agreement. There will be no hidden additional costs. If there are any additional costs these will be set out in an agreement in advance. The most likely additional cost is reasonable travel expenses where a hearing or meeting is in a court that is more than 25 miles from our Chambers this will be worked out pro rata at £60 per hour plus VAT.

Please contact us for further information or to provide a fee quotation.

Timescales

Timescales for a case may vary depending on factors such as a barristers availability, the type and complexity of the case, the other side’s approach and court waiting times for a listing.  By way of assistance in respect of a typical family finance case the following guide/steps may be useful to know:
Before you can issue an application at court for a financial order on divorce or civil partnership dissolution, you must, by law, attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

At this meeting, a mediator will explain alternative dispute resolution options to using the court and explore whether your particular circumstances might be appropriate for mediation. If you’re applying for an urgent financial injunction, have suffered domestic violence, or if you have recently tried mediation but it was not successful, you may be exempt from attending a MIAM, but it is compulsory for most. The mediator will sign the Form A to show you have attended, so that you can file your application at court if you do not wish to enter mediation.

The Form A is the application to start the court process in a money case. On receipt of the Form A, the court sets the date for the first court appointment when it will give directions to progress your case: this is the “FDA” or “First Directions Appointment”. You will be ordered to file and exchange certain documents in the run-up to this hearing.

Five weeks before the FDA hearing, the court requires both parties involved to file at court and exchange Form E. Form E is the substantial form you both need to fill in to disclose fully and frankly all of your financial circumstances.

After Form E is filed and two weeks before the FDA, both parties must file at court and exchange

  • a concise statement of the disputed financial issues;
  • a chronology of events;
  • (if necessary) a questionnaire arising from the contents of the other party’s Form E;
    and
  • a completed Form G stating whether you consider that it may be possible to move towards negotiating a settlement at the first court appointment.

There is a further requirement that before each court hearing, each party must file at court and exchange a statement of the amount of money he or she has spent so far on legal costs. There is a special form for this statement.

The FDA is usually heard by a district judge in the family court, and lasts about 30 minutes. You or your barrister will need to speak to the judge, but nobody will give evidence at this stage. The point of this hearing is to ensure that all the necessary evidence is available for negotiations to take place, and for the court to make an order if necessary. If there are questionnaires, the court will order which questions should be answered and by when. Other matters commonly dealt with at the FDA are what valuations should be obtained and by when, what other expert evidence should be obtained and by when, and the date of the next court appointment – the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing, or “FDR”.

The FDA can be combined with the FDR if both parties agree, in which case the hearing length might be extended to an hour.

When all the evidence is ready, there will be an FDR. This is a “without prejudice” hearing, which means that each side is able to make proposals for settlement that cannot be referred to in court at any other hearing. You or your direct access barrister will need to put your case to the judge and be prepared to discuss with him or her the relative strengths and weaknesses in your case. The judge hearing the FDR will try to assist you both to reach to a settlement, and can play no further part in your case if you do not agree. This is usually a day where lengthy negotiations take place outside the courtroom but within the court building, and you or your direct access barrister will probably be asked to update the judge at regular intervals on your progress. Depending on the indications made by the judge and how constructive the negotiations are, you may be at court all day. If no agreement is reached, the judge will give any further directions about what is needed to get the case ready for another judge to make a final order, and fix a date for the final hearing (trial).

At the final hearing the court will hear evidence from each of you and any experts or witnesses. Your barrister will introduce the case, question you, the other person and any others about relevant points that make a difference to the way the judge will decide what should happen, and finally sum up your case. The other side will do the same (the applicant goes first, but each stage is taken in turn). The court will consider the law and weigh all the evidence, then make orders about how property, assets and income should be shared on and after divorce. It may also make an order that one party should pay all or a part of the other’s costs, but costs orders are not common and the starting point in family cases is that each side should bear its own costs.

N.B The contents of this page were last reviewed on 13th July 2021.

Regulatory and Complaints Information

Barristers in chambers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board. You can search the Barristers’ Register on the Bar Standards Board’s website:
https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/for-the-public/search-a-barristers-record/thebarristers-register.html

This shows (1) whether a barrister has a current practising certificate, and (2) whether a barrister has any disciplinary findings, which are published on the Bar Standards Board’s website in accordance with their policy. Alternatively, you can contact the Bar Standards Board on 020 7611 1444 to ask about this (or e-mail; ContactUs@BarStandardsBoard.org.uk).
A separate sheet which provides information about can be found here:
• Our complaints procedure;
• Any right you may have to complain to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) – the independent body which can help you if you have complained to your lawyer and are not happy with their response;
• How to complain to LeO; and
• Any time limits for making a complaint.
You can also search the decision data on LeO’s website:
http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/raising-standards/data-and-decisions/#ombudsmandecision-data

This shows providers which received an ombudsman’s decision in the previous 12 months, and whether LeO required the provider to give the consumer a remedy.
Alternatively, you can contact LeO on 0300 555 0333 to ask about this (or e-mail
enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk).

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