Terms of Service & Complaints
Spire Barristers’ policy ensures that the client’s needs, concerns and interests are always paramount and discharged to the best of our ability by our administration/clerking staff and individual members.
Members are organised into practice groups covering our main areas of practice for the provision of services. The terms and conditions of business and timescales for completion of work are agreed upon wherever possible at the start of a case, and the client is advised and kept fully informed of progress when problems are identified.
The Bar Standards Board regulates all of our Barristers; this link will take you to the Barristers Register Page of the BSB’s website to check their details. The Register holds details of all barristers who hold a current practising certificate and whether a barrister has any disciplinary findings against them. All barristers carry professional indemnity insurance coverage for all of the legal services that we supply.
Terms of Service
Spire Barristers operate under the Bar’s new standard contractual terms. Note that the new terms are our default position unless varied by written agreement. These changes will apply to all privately funded work and do not apply to publicly funded work or work funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement. A copy of the new terms is available here.
Professional, licensed access, and lay clients may contact chambers to obtain a quotation for legal services;
When you contact chambers to book counsel, the clerks can advise you on the most appropriate person to undertake your matter. Should you enquire about a specific counsel, the clerks will inform you of the individual’s diary availability. Inevitably, however, in busy chambers, there will be occasions where work has to be returned to another barrister – for example, because a case has overrun or because of listing changes by the Court. The clerks are in contact with Court listing officers daily, but solicitors will know the problems that late listing changes can cause. We have a firm policy not to double-book counsel without express agreement. If a case has to be returned, our clerks will suggest suitable alternative appropriate counsel. In the unusual event of us being unable to assist within Chambers, we can advise you of alternatives.
Accepting Briefs and Instructions
Our client care letter and business terms are sent to all new clients on the first occasion that work is received. Client requirements may be through a brief for court, instructions for a conference or written work. Any conflict of interest between the professional and the lay client during a case is immediately brought to the attention of both parties by the member, and appropriate advice is provided to the lay client. All briefs are endorsed with the outcome and returned to the client once the case is completed.
Unless catered for separately under a Legal Aid Certificate, Service Level Agreement or Conditional Fee Agreement and all professional fees are agreed upon on a case-by-case basis. The most commonly used method of charging is a fixed fee agreement made before the work is undertaken. In some exceptional cases where it would be preferred by the client or due to the uncertainty of the level of work to be conducted, an hourly rate would be agreed in advance and, where possible, a “cap” be agreed in place. The fees to be calculated will consider the experience and seniority of the Barrister undertaking the work along with the actual amount of work involved to complete. All of our barristers are registered for VAT which is charged in addition to the fee agreed. The individual registration number can be provided on request.
In providing our expertise, we aim to set and adhere to strict timelines to give clients certainty. Please be aware that issues such as changes to court listing timetables, changes to instructions, and unexpected events may occasionally impact delivery deadlines. The Code of Conduct guides barristers about these matters, and our barristers adhere to the Code of Conduct. In those circumstances, our clerks will seek to advise clients immediately and agree on alternative arrangements to ensure your case is not negatively impacted.
Factors which determine how long it will take to deliver the services you require include:
- The availability of the barrister where a specific barrister is re-quested
- The availability of the client or relevant third parties;
- The complexity of the case;
- The number of papers you need to review;
- The need for additional information or documents;
- The approach was taken by the other side;
- Third parties intervening in the case; and
- Court waiting times.
All individual barristers and chambers are registered with the Information Commissioners Office.
Feedback from Clients
The Senior Clerk informally discusses Chambers’ performance occasionally with clients and obtains feedback regarding how much the services meet clients’ expectations.
We hope you will not have cause to complain about our service but recognise that things can go wrong, even in the best-run organisations. Chambers has a formal complaints procedure whereby each barrister and staff member is personally responsible for complying with Chambers’ client care and complaints policy regarding their client dealing. Should a formal or informal complaint be necessary click here to view our Complaints Procedure
All complaints will be progressed and resolved promptly and effectively to notify the client of the outcome as soon as possible. Should your complaint not be resolved to your satisfaction or has not been dealt with within eight weeks, clients have a further avenue of complaint via the Legal Ombudsman.
You can write to the Legal Ombudsman at:
PO Box 6806,
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
More information about the Legal Ombudsman is available on their website:
You must complain to the Legal Ombudsman within six years of your barrister’s actions/failure to act or no later than three years after you should reasonably have known there were grounds to complain. You must also complain to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving your barrister’s final response to your complaint.
All decisions from the Legal Ombudsman’s office can be viewed here.
N.B The contents of this page were last reviewed on 4th April 2023.
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