Terms of Direct Access Instruction

Indicative General terms of instruction: the terms and conditions that will apply will be those provided with the client care letter at the time of instruction but in the interests of transparency the terms and conditions below will assist you in determining whether instructing me on a direct access basis is suitable for your purposes (20.04.2020).

  1. I am the only person you are instructing and I will personally do all the work needed under this arrangement.
  1. I have carefully considered the instructions and can confirm that I have sufficient experience and competence to undertake the work. 
  1. If for any reason I cannot carry out all the work you are instructing me to do, or if I want to suggest that another barrister (instead of me, or as well as me) carries out the work for you, I may propose this and explain why I have made this suggestion. However, another barrister will not carry out work for you unless and until you have agreed to this.
  1. There may be times when my professional commitments clash. If I identify a possible clash of commitments and I am unable to work on your case I will do my best to warn you as soon as possible and ask you how you would prefer to continue. As a result, it would be helpful if you would give me a telephone number on which I will always be able to contact you.
  1. I may suggest the name of another barrister, who is willing to accept your case under the same terms as this agreement. You would then need to decide whether you want to instruct that barrister.
  1. Alternatively I can assist and help you to find an alternative barrister

The work I will carry out

  1. The work you are instructing me to carry out will be set out in a cover letter.
  1. If subsequent work is needed on this matter, and I am available to do the extra work, there will need to be another letter of agreement between us.

The range of work I can carry out

  1. Barristers advise on the law, draft documents for clients to use and appear on behalf of their client before courts or other organisations. Barristers cannot handle client money or undertake the organisation or management of a case proceeding through a court.
  1. Here are some examples of work I can carry out. 
  1. I can draft letters on your behalf.
  2. I can appear on your behalf to argue your case at court.
  3. If a witness statement is needed from you, I can draft it from what you tell me. I may also be able to help finalise a witness statement from another person based on the information that person has provided.
  4. I can advise you on the need for expert evidence and on the choice of a suitable expert and instruct an expert on your behalf. Expert evidence is evidence about a professional, scientific or technical matter provided by an individual with expertise in that area.
  5. I can draft formal court documents for you. However, I cannot serve court documents on other parties or file them at court on your behalf. You will need to take responsibility for serving formal court documents on other parties and filing them at court. Serving court documents is the process by which papers relating to a case are put before the court or tribunal and the parties, eg individuals or organisations, involved in the case. This usually signals the start of formal proceedings.
  6. I cannot go on the court record or provide my address to the court as the ‘address for service’ of documents (that is, the address which you are required to provide to the court for receipt by you of formal court documents sent by the court or other parties). You will be listed on the court record as a litigant in person. You will need to provide your own address as the ‘address for service’ of documents sent to you by the court and other parties.
  1. As you are instructing me without a solicitor, you must be sure that: 
  1. you are able to do whatever is necessary for those matters that I cannot deal with; or 
  2. you have made an arrangement with another person of suitable competence and experience to provide these services for you.

Circumstances when I may not be able to act for you:

  1. As a barrister, I must follow the Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook, which is available here:

https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/regulatory-requirements/bsb-handbook/the-handbook-publication/

  1. That Code of Conduct requires me to consider whether a solicitor needs to be instructed in your own interests. If there comes a point at which I consider you need a solicitor I will no longer be able to act for you without the involvement of a solicitor. If I foresee that situation arising, I will give you as much notice as possible.

Legal Aid

  1. It is possible that you may be eligible for public funding or “legal aid” as it is usually referred to. However, as a barrister I cannot do legal aid work unless I have been instructed by a solicitor. If you want to talk to someone in more detail about getting legal aid, you should contact a solicitor who does legal aid work. They will be able to advise you about legal aid arrangements relating to civil cases eg where you are in dispute with another individual or organisation and criminal cases eg where a crime may have been committed. You can find out more information on the www.gov.uk website: 

https://www.gov.uk/community-legal-advice

  • If you wish to be assessed for legal aid for a civil case you can contact Community Legal Advice. This is a service which provides advice about family, debt, benefits, housing, education or employment problems. You can call them on: 0845 345 4345. You can also use their online legal aid calculator. This is a tool which allows you to check whether you can get legal aid for your case, if it is a civil case. This tool allows you to get online advice and can help you find a legal adviser near you:

https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid

  • If you do not qualify for legal aid, you might like to consider whether you have any insurance policies that might cover your legal fees, or if the fees may be paid by someone else, for example a trade union.
  1. I can advise and represent you if:
  1. you make an informed decision not to seek public funding;
  2. you make a public funding application, eg you have applied to get legal aid to help fund your case, that is rejected;
  3. you do not wish to take up an offer of public funding (perhaps because you consider that the level of contribution you will be required to make is too much).
  4. In signing these terms, you confirm that you have been informed that you may be eligible for public funding and where you can find further information. You are choosing to instruct me without the benefit of any public funding that may be available to you.

My availability

  1. As I carry out all my professional work personally, there may be times when I am not available to you. For example, if I am in court for a day or for several days in a row. I may be totally unavailable to all other clients during that time. If you are not able to contact me directly you can leave a message with my clerk and I will respond as soon as possible.  

Fees

  1. My fees for this work will be as set out in the cover letter.
  1. Under these terms, you are responsible for paying the fees set out in the cover letter.
  2. I will not unless otherwise expressly agreed in writing commence work until I have received cleared funds. I will not accept payment by instalments unless this has been previously agreed in writing.
  3. If you owe me any fees and do not pay them for more than three months after I give you an invoice, interest will be payable at 2% above the HSBC Bank base rate from 28 days of the date of the invoice.

Documents

  1. You and I agree that:
  • I am entitled to keep copies of any documents you give me for my own professional records; and
  • I will return all your original documents to you when I have carried out the work you have instructed me to do.
  • I would prefer that you give me copies of documents rather than originals.  However, if this is not possible, I may make a reasonable charge to you for producing photocopies.

General obligations

  1. The information which you give me will be received in professional confidence. This means that I must maintain the confidentiality of any information you have shared with me and can only tell others about it if you give your consent for me to do so. The only exception is that statutory and other legal requirements may mean that I have to disclose (i.e. reveal) your information to governmental or other regulatory authorities, e.g. organisations, whose rules I must meet, without your consent and without telling you that I have made the disclosure. Statutory and legal requirements are rules or regulations that an individual must, by law, follow.
  1. This contract will be governed by English law, and any dispute will be subject to the jurisdiction of the English courts. Jurisdiction means the power and authority of a court or tribunal to determine the outcome of a case and impose sanctions or penalties on those involved.

Cancellation

  1. Right to cancel
  1. You have the right to cancel this contract within 14 days without giving any reason.
  2. To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform me of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (e.g. a letter sent by post, fax or e-mail to the contact details provided on my letterhead).
  3. To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.
  4. Please note: This cancellation clause only applies if you are consumer as per the definition of the Consumer Rights Act 2015
  1. Effects of cancellation
  1. If you cancel this contract within 14 days of payment being made, the total fee will be reimbursed.
  2. I will make the reimbursement not later than 14 days after the day on which your decision to cancel this contract was communicated to me.
  3. I will make the reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction unless you have expressly agreed otherwise.
  4. If you requested me to begin the performance of services during the cancellation period, the level of any reimbursement due to you (if any) will be subject to reduction for work already undertaken work on your instructions.

Complaints

  1. I hope you will be happy with the professional services I provide. However, if you are not satisfied, you should first refer the matter to me for investigation and an attempt at resolution.
  1. If you are not happy with my reply then you can contact the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman is a free, impartial and independent service set up by the Government which deals with complaints about the service you have received. You must complain to the Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint from myself or from my chambers (provided the response specifically notifies you of your right to complain to the Ombudsman and of the six month time-limit). A complaint to the Ombudsman must also be made not more than six years after the act or omission complained about or not more than three years from the date when you should reasonably have known that there were grounds for complaint. For further details about how to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, please contact the Legal Ombudsman directly at:

Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk          

Phone: 0300 555 0333        

Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

A guide to the scheme rules that came into effect on 28 January 2015 can be found on the Legal Ombudsman’s website at:

http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/downloads/documents/publications/Scheme-Rules.pdf