Information About How We Conduct Business
At MC Chambers, anyone, whether professional, licensed access or lay clients can contact us to obtain a quotation for legal services. The simplest route is to contact our clerk on 07473 053074 who will ensure that an enquiry is dealt with efficiently and quickly. Our barristers accept direct access instructions subject to the usual rules (of the case being one where acting without the assistance of a solicitor is appropriate). Our clerk will be happy to assist clients who wish to instruct on a direct access basis.
In criminal cases many defendants will have the benefit of a representation order and receive publicly funded assistance (often referred to as Legal Aid). In such cases a defendant will need to instruct a solicitor who will liaise with us to ensure the best representation is provided. If a defendant is publicly funded but makes a contribution towards that funding their solicitor will be able to assist if issues arise concerning the level of that contribution.
In cases where clients wish to instruct a barrister without public funding (often referred to as privately paying clients) our clerk will be happy to discuss the most appropriate way of structuring payment of fees. Fees can be structured in a number of ways including a fixed fee for the case, payment of an agreed hourly rate or payment of a brief fee (a brief fee pays for preparation of the case for the trial up to and including the first day of the trial) with separate payments for each additional day of the trial (often referred to as refreshers). The fees agreed will reflect the experience and seniority of the barrister to whom they relate and all of the circumstances of the case including but not limited to, the seriousness and complexity of the case, the volume of the papers and preparation required, the commitment required to prepare the case properly and the length of time the trial is expected to take. Our clerk will strive to ensure that any payment arrangement is tailored to both the needs of an individual client and the circumstances of the particular case. Legal Services attract VAT. Our barristers are registered for VAT and registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Their VAT numbers are available on request. Professional Indemnity Insurance is in place for all legal services supplied.
There are a number of different factors, which may influence the timescales within which a barrister can provide legal services. These include, but are not limited to:
- The particular requirements of the client
- The availability of the chosen barrister and his/her other diary commitments
- The stage of proceedings when instructions are first received
- The complexity of the case and volume of material that will need to be reviewed
- The level of funding available
- The nature of the case and level of engagement from other parties involved in the case
Upon accepting instructions in a case, the barrister will ensure prompt early advice including a general assessment of the further work that is necessary and the timescale over which a client can expect the required legal services will be provided
Useful Website Links
The following website links provide further information concerning the way barristers conduct their business.
Legal Ombudsman – https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/helping-the-public
Barristers register page on BSB website link – https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/for-the-public.html
Public Access Guidance for Lay Clients’ https://www.barstandardsborad.org.uk/uploads/assets/20f0db2a-a40c-4af9-95b1b9557ad748e9/Public-Access-Guidance-for-Lay-Clients.pdf
Legal Choices website – https://www.legalchoices.org.uk
Information Required to be Provided for Summary Only Motoring Matters Provided on a Direct Access Basis
This needs to be either added directly to the public access page or on a separate page which has a link from the Public Access Page.
Summary Only Motoring Offences
Many driving offences can only be tried in the Magistrates’ Court (referred to as on a summary only basis). We provide representation covering a variety of different scenarios that may arise including, but not limited to:
- Representation and advice at a single hearing
- Representation and advice where a client pleads guilty, both at plea and sentence stage including legal arguments about whether a client should be disqualified from driving (including special reasons and exceptional hardship arguments)
- Representation and advice where a client pleads not guilty, at all stages including trial and if necessary any subsequent sentence
- Representation and advice where a client wishes to argue proceedings should not continue (for legal reasons) or evidence should not be admitted for legal reasons.
In the majority of cases that go to trial, there will be an initial hearing (first hearing) followed by a trial hearing some months afterwards. Sometimes there will be a need for additional hearings depending on the nature of the case and orders made by the Court.
If a defendant pleads guilty at the first hearing, in most cases it will be possible to move straight to sentencing at the hearing. On occasions it will be necessary for a case to be adjourned (possibly for a period of 4-6 weeks) for further information to be gathered, such as pre-sentence reports, psychiatric reports or other medical reports.
In all cases a payment structure can be arranged that suits both the lay client and barrister’s needs. A contract for the provision of legal services will be drafted, including provision for payment of fees and any additional fees that may arise. Payment structures can take a variety of different forms including but not limited to:
- A fixed fee for the entire case
- Separate payments for each hearing in a case
- Payment on an hourly rate basis (including preparation travel, waiting as well as conference and advocacy)
- Payment of a fee (brief fee) to accept the case with additional payments for each day in court (refreshers).
Typically fees can range from £500 – £10,000 for a single hearing. There is no upper or lower limit. Each case will be discussed individually with the lay client. Similarly, hourly rates can typically range from £75 per hour to £1,000 an hour. Again there are no upper or lower limits. If you have a particularly complex case, your fee may be higher than the estimates above. VAT will be added to any fees.
On occasions there will be additional costs such as travel, waiting and hotel expenses. Where such costs are likely these will be discussed with the client at the outset of the case.
Sometimes, further additional costs may arise as a case progresses. These can arise for a number of different reasons. Examples of these are:
- The service of further evidence in a case, increasing its length and/or complexity
- The need to consider further avenues of investigation requiring additional funding (such as the instruction of expert witnesses)
- A change in requirements of the client
- The case lasting longer than expected for reasons outside the control of the barrister or client (such as illness of jurors, witnesses failing to attend or a jury having to be discharged for legal reasons)
We will endeavour to ensure that within the contract for the provision of services between the barrister and client, provision is made for any such eventuality.