A Transparent and Innovative Approach to Fees
I am committed to delivering financial confidence through innovative and mutually beneficial approaches to alternatives to the “billable hour”.
I will always tell you directly or through my clerk in Chambers what the first stage of your case will cost or is likely to cost before any work is done on your behalf.
Wherever possible I will give you an exact price, known as a fixed fee; this pricing is not based on time estimates or trying to reverse the billable hour equivalent cost into a fixed price.
Instead, I will agree a price with you for a clearly defined scope of work from the outset before we start.
If you then decide to change this scope of work materially, we will agree a reasonable revised price with you; again, in advance.
You can expect to be charged a fixed fee to have your barrister represent you in court.
However, fees sometimes do need to be based on hourly rates. The hourly rate, and an accurate estimate of the likely total cost, will be given to you before work is begun.
If I do not give you an exact price your I will put in writing all of the hours that he/she has worked. These hours will be on the invoice or fee note that is sent to you.
Factors which might influence the scope of work include:
- My availability;
- The availability of the client or relevant third parties;
- The complexity of the case;
- The amount of papers required 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.
Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs)
A CFA is often referred to as a “no win, no fee” arrangement.
If your case has a good prospect of success a CFA may be an option worth considering. If your solicitor is working for you under a CFA it is likely I may do so as well.
Under a CFA a barrister agrees to undertake work on the basis that they will only receive payment if the client wins as a result of the proceedings. If the proceedings are not successful, your barrister does not get paid.
There are circumstances where an alternative definition of success will be appropriate but this will be clearly highlighted in the barrister’s CFA. Members of Chambers also undertake hybrid CFA’s. These agreements allow for some of the barristers fees to be paid whatever the outcome and the rest to be covered by a CFA. The CFA portion of fees will only be payable if the matter is successful.
You will need to take out an “after the event” insurance policy to cover your liability to the other side in the event they win. Essentially CFAs allow you to proceed with a claim although you are not in a position to fund the litigation.
I will make my own decision whether to enter into a particular CFA.
I will consider the merits of a case including the legal, evidential and practical risks involved and decide whether I am willing to act.
Doing the Right Thing
If you are unhappy about something, you an utilise the the following complaints process.
You may raise the matter directly with me first failing which you may utilise the following complaints process.
Chambers complaints process
We ask you to let us know as soon as possible so we have the opportunity to address your concerns. You may also make a formal complaint.
We will investigate all complaints, as set out below. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make your complaint but you are free to do so should you wish.
All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. Disclosure will be to the Joint Heads of Chambers, members of our Management Committee and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member or staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.
As part of our commitment to client care we will make a written record of any complaint and retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of six years. Every year we consider all informal and formal complaints on an anonymous basis in order to identify how we might improve our service.
The terms of this Complaints Procedure apply to mediators. In the event that your complaint is about a Civil Mediation Council Registered Mediator, if you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation you may wish to refer the matter to the Civil Mediation Council Complaints Resolution Service.
Complaints Made by Telephone
You may wish to raise a complaint by speaking to us on the telephone.
If this is an informal complaint, in the first instance please speak to our Senior Practice Managers (Steve Sheridan for civil matters or James Tidnam for family matters). or to the Chambers Director, Vincent Denham.
If this is a formal complaint please speak to our Chambers Director, Vincent Denham (unless it is about the Chambers Director in which case please see below).
The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. They will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved they will record the outcome, check that you are satisfied with the outcome and record that you are satisfied. You may also wish to record the outcome of the telephone discussion in writing.
If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone you will be invited to write to us about it so it can be investigated formally.
Complaints made in Writing
If you decide to put your complaint in writing please provide the following details:
- Your name and address
- Which member(s) of Chambers you are complaining about
- The detail of the complaint, and
- What you would like done about it.
- Please address your letter to the Chambers Director, Vincent Denham, unless the complaint concerns the Chambers Director, in which case the complaint should be directed to Mr Richard Furniss, the appointed member of the Management Committee and Joint Head of Chambers.
We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint as soon as reasonably practicable, within three working days where possible, and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.
Our complaints handling panel is made up of experienced members of Chambers and senior members of staff from our Management Committee, headed by the Joint Heads of Chambers Tina Cook QC and Richard Furniss. It considers any written complaint. Within seven days of your letter being received, the Head of the panel, or their deputy in their absence, will appoint a member of the panel to investigate it. If your complaint is against the Head of the panel, the next most senior member of the panel will investigate it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about.
The person appointed to consider your complaint will investigate it and then respond to you within a maximum of eight weeks of receipt of your complaint. If they find they are not going to be able to reply within this time they will set a new date for their reply and inform you. The reply will set out:
- The nature and scope of their investigation
- Their conclusion on each complaint and the basis for their conclusion, and
- If they find that you are justified in your complaint, their proposals for resolving the complaint.
You will have the opportunity to provide further information in writing if you wish, and the person against whom the complaint is made will have the opportunity to respond.
If there is the possibility that the complaint may result in a claim against the barrister, then the insurers (Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund) will be informed as soon as possible.
Complaints to our regulators
As well as Chambers’ own review of complaints there are two regulators you may approach
The Legal Ombudsman
The Legal Ombudsman is the independent body for service complaints about lawyers. It has a time limit for investigating complaints of up to six years from the date of the problem happening or within three years of when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint. Chambers must have regard to these limits and will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside the time limit.
The Legal Ombudsman will only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the barrister’s client are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chambers’ investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation, and you fall within their jurisdiction, you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman at the conclusion of our consideration of your complaint. Please note the Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. Approaching the Legal Ombudsman is therefore appropriate if you are not satisfied with the final response from Chambers, or if you have not received a response from Chambers after the maximum 8 week period allowed by the Ombudsman.
You can write to them at:
Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0300 555 0333
You must complain to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving your barrister’s final response to your complaint
You can see the Ombudsman’s decision data by following this link: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/raising-standards/data-and-decisions/#ombudsman-decision-data
The Bar Standards Board
The BSB generally cannot investigate complaints against a barrister that has represented you. Rather the BSB investigates complaints where barristers may have broken the rules or acted in a way that might damage the public’s ability to trust barristers, for example by acting dishonestly. Further details are shown on their website
It should be noted that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. This is because the ability of Chambers to satisfactorily investigate and resolve such matters is limited and complaints of this nature are often better suited to the disciplinary processes maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if they feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the Chambers complaints process they will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.
Standard Contractual Terms
I accept instructions according to the following Contractual Terms.
All work undertaken by me from 42 Bedford Row and which is paid by or through an Authorised Person (as such term is defined by Section 18(1)(a) of the Legal Services Act 2007) shall be subject to and in accordance with the most appropriate contract being one of the following:
THE (NEW) STANDARD CONTRACTUAL TERMS FOR THE SUPPLY OF LEGAL SERVICES BY BARRISTERS TO AUTHORISED PERSONS 2012 – ANNEXE T TO THE BAR CODE OF CONDUCT (the New Standard Contractual Terms)
STANDARD CONTRACTUAL TERMS GOVERNING THE ACCEPTANCE OF LEGAL AID INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SUPPLY OF LEGAL SERVICES BY BARRISTERS TO AUTHORISED PERSONS IN CIVIL (NON-FAMILY) CASES
SAVE AND SUBJECT TO THE EXTENT the same may be amended or extended in writing by or on behalf of the barrister and notified to the Authorised Person.
PIBA STANDARD TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR CFAs FROM 1ST APRIL 2013 (incorporated into the Short Form CFA) (the PIBA 8 Contract)
The Standard Contractual Terms will apply unless expressly agreed otherwise
A copy of the above contracts can be found here: Standard Contractual Terms, Standard Contractual Terms Civil Legal Aid Cases and for PIBA here
Arfan Khan is a barrister practising from 42 Bedford Row, a leading Chambers in London. His Chambers website is https://www.42br.com/arfan-khan. Arfan Khan is not responsible for the content and accuracy of external internet websites that link to this site, or which are linked from it, or refer to the name “Arfan Khan” and/or other sources referred to in www.arfankhan.co.uk for any reason whatsoever. The reader should note that Arfan Khan does not authorise the use of his details on any other website other than those referred to in this, and his Chambers website, and is not a director of any company. Please contact the author before relying on any information found on an external website or article, the accuracy of which is not accepted.
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