- You specialise in a number of areas; in which of these do you accept public access instructions? We accept public access enquiries and instructions in employment matters, representing both employees and employers. If you need assistance in any other specialisms listed on our website via the Public Access Scheme, please contact our clerking team. Fee structures vary by area of law; some areas do not lend themselves to receiving instructions in this way. We do not accept no win no fee cases (CFA) via public access as we require counsel to be paid in advance for their work. We can, however, recommend specialist solicitors and alternative resources that will be able to work with you to resolve the matter and subsequently instruct a barrister where appropriate.
- My case is related to an employment matter. Will I still need a solicitor? If your case would benefit from a solicitor’s input, we will advise you of this at the outset or when the need arises. We work with some of the UK’s best employment solicitors, so, if necessary, we can introduce you to a specialist solicitor.
- How much will it cost? We can only advise how much it will cost once we have all of the necessary information about your case (this applies equally to instructions from solicitors). Costs vary according to the complexity of your case, the volume of documentation, number of witnesses involved, whether you need a senior or junior barrister, the value of your case and the estimated length of hearing. We will agree fees with you in advance and in writing so you have clarity. If you would like to receive a quotation, please contact one of our clerking team. For further information on fee structures, please see the section below.
- What could impact on the timescales of my case? Timescales for your case may vary depending on barristers’ availability, the complexity of your case, the need for additional documents and the other side’s approach. As a guide only, straightforward cases in the Employment Tribunal tend to have a hearing date within four to six months of a claim being made.
- What could cause delays to my case/advice? Unforeseeable factors such as: Employment Tribunal delays, cases overrunning, barrister illness and other factors outside of our control could cause delays. We will endeavour to work with you to ensure we meet your expectations, and exceed them where possible. Where we are unable to meet your expectations, we will communicate clearly and regularly with you to guide you through any challenges.
- Which barrister is right for my case? Once the clerks have all of the necessary information about your case, they will be able to match your needs to the available barrister with the most relevant experience within your budget. Our clerks are highly skilled and very experienced in matching the right counsel to appropriate cases.
- Are barristers regulated? Yes, all barristers, and Chambers, are regulated by the Bar Standards Board.
- Is there anywhere else I can research whether the Public Access Scheme is right for me? Yes, our regulator, the Bar Standards Board, publishes a ‘Public Access Guide for Lay Clients’ (i.e. members of the public using the Public Access Scheme to instruct a barrister directly) which may also help you to reach an informed decision.
- Can you provide me with an idea of the stages and timescales in relation to my case? Every case varies according to the nature, complexity and stage of the case. As an example, a client wishing to raise/defend a case of unfair dismissal at tribunal would typically go through the following stages:
- Enquiry received
- Request Form completed. It is important that you identify the names of other individuals or organisations potentially involved in your case so that we do not share the Request Form with a barrister advising or representing another party involved in your case
- Further information sought where necessary (within three working days, but often more quickly)
- If it is a matter we can accept via public access your enquiry will be sent to our appropriate public access barristers, unless you have made a specific request for a barrister/s or unless the case requires a specific expertise particular to a member/some members of the team.
- They are asked to respond as to whether they would be willing to take on your case and, where applicable, meet any timescales you have outlined (if you already have a Tribunal date for example).
- We expect to get back to you within a further three working days, at most.
- If we are unable to represent you, we will offer you details of organisations you can contact for support and assistance.
- If we are able to represent you, we will provide an indicative quotation for the work required according to the information supplied. The barrister may at this stage wish to speak with you directly but it is likely that communication will initially be via a member of the clerking team.
- If you wish to accept the quotation, you will be asked to do so in writing and make payment in full before the barrister starts work on your case.
- The timescales, once we have received your instruction to begin work, will vary according to the matter, any existing deadlines and the barrister’s workload at that time. The clerk will liaise with you to communicate the timescale the barrister has advised and will monitor this to ensure delivery of the service you have requested.
- Please be aware that any delay in you providing documentation to us could result in your barrister not being available to conduct the work as their professional commitments can change on a day-to-day basis.A barrister will not expect to work evenings and weekends so that they can prepare your case ahead of a deadline because requested information has not been supplied. This could have a significant impact on your prospects of success and cause you to incur additional costs, so please make sure you respond promptly to any requests received.
- I’d like to go ahead and speak to someone in greater detail. What should I do now? To start the process, please email our clerking team your contact details and giving a brief (we would suggest no longer than 200 words) outline of your case. If the clerks feel we may be able to assist you under the Public Access Scheme, you will be sent a form to complete and return to us. If the clerk requires further information to assess as to whether the case is suitable for public access, or if it is a matter we do not feel we can assist on via this scheme but can provide recommendations on, then we will come back to you to let you know that that is the case. If you would prefer to speak to somebody by telephone, please call 020 7269 0300 to speak to a member of the team. If you require any reasonable adjustments to the process, please do contact either our Senior Clerk or Chambers Director on the above details for assistance.
Employers might also find the following websites useful:
- British Chambers of Commerce
- Institute of Directors
- Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
Choosing the public access route means you can join the increasing number of people and companies who prefer to work with barrister directly. Here are some examples:
- Employment Handbook and Contracts – One of England’s largest greetings card manufacturers asked one of our employment barristers to update and redraft their employment handbook and employment contracts. We provided the new drafts and were also able to provide their HR department with ongoing advice and guidance on implementing the changes.
- Retained Barrister -Public access employment barristers are well placed to provide support directly to HR professionals. A number of our barristers are instructed directly by the HR departments of both large and small companies. One of our employment barristers provides guidance and support to the in-house HR team in of one of world’s largest rating agencies. He is available on an ongoing basis to help and advise them on the full range of employment law problems that arise in the workplace, from operating fair internal disciplinary procedures, to advising on policies and procedures, to supporting redundancy consultation processes.
- Brussels and Rome Regulations – One of our barristers was instructed at short notice to defend a commercial client in an international contractual dispute. He was able to produce a skeleton argument within 24 hours. He identified that the French courts should have exclusive jurisdiction under Article 22 of the Brussels 1 Regulation and the claim was struck out for want of jurisdiction.
- Pre-hearing settlement – One of our public access employment barristers successfully negotiated a settlement in an Employment Tribunal case involving equal pay and multiple instances of discrimination against an employer. The Claimant required assistance with advice and representation at preliminary hearings and following counsel’s advice the claim was settled before the final hearing.
YOUR PERSONAL DATA
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