When a barrister is booked to attend court for a privately paying client we will provide you with a written estimate of the barrister’s fees for that hearing. The estimated fee is based on a typical case of this type and length and reflects the expertise of chosen counsel.
You will receive an invoice within seven days of the completion of the work and our payment terms are 30 days. All of the services we offer are bound by standard contractual terms: click here
Whilst we have standard fee scales, payment terms and procedures in place we are always happy to discuss bespoke arrangements and would ask you to contact our Senior Clerk, Scott Baldwin, if you wish to discuss alternatives.
For the vast majority of cases we can provide a fixed fee estimate at the time of booking. You may however be in a position where you want to give your client an indication of the likely costs of instructing counsel but don’t have the time to contact us to check. To assist you we have provided a downloadable copy of our standard fee scales. These scales show a range of fees at three different levels; low, mid and high. The mid fee is our normal starting point for a standard case of this type and complexity, the low and high fees are the extremes that we normally go to at either end of the scale. There are, however, exceptions and we will always discuss fees for cases which fall outside these scales on a case by case basis.
Nigel Page is known for his expertise in dealing with complex high net worth cases. He does deal with more straightforward cases but often clients don’t think of asking for him because they fear he will be too expensive. In order to make Nigel Page more accessible to as many clients as possible we have devised a two tier pricing scale based on the complexity of the case. We are always happy to discuss exceptions to these fees and if you have a case which you would like Nigel Page to deal with but are unsure about the fee please contact one of the clerks.
Acceptance and variation of standard payment terms
At the point of booking we will send an e-mail asking you to either confirm your acceptance of our standard payment terms or else propose an alternative arrangement. If we do not get a response within 7 days then our fees clerk, Chris Thorpe, will make a further attempt to confirm your acceptance or alternative proposals. If this proves unsuccessful we will inform the instructed barrister who may then refuse to undertake the work as there is no contractual arrangement to ensure they will be paid.
If our standard 30 day payment terms are a source of general difficulty and you wish to discuss a bespoke set of terms our Senior Clerk, Scott Baldwin, will be happy to discuss alternatives.
Where a case is removed from counsel’s diary at short notice a fee will normally be payable. This is to provide remuneration both for the preparatory work undertaken by counsel and to allow for the lost work. When a case is removed from a barrister’s diary at short notice it is unlikely that we will be able to replace the lost work. As each barrister is self employed this could mean receiving no income each time a case is cancelled. The cancellation fee is calculated on a case by case basis with reference to the amount of preparation completed and the proximity in time of the date of removal to the hearing date. The reason for the cancellation could be an agreed adjournment between the parties, the court removing the matter from the list, the case settling or some other unforeseen reason.
Where the court removes the case at short notice it may be possible for the client to claim their fees back through the HM Courts Complaints Procedure or else the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. More details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-courts-and-tribunals-service/about/complaints-procedure
Payment of fees
All of the barristers at St. Mary's Chambers are self employed and rely on regular cashflow for all of their income. All fees must therefore be paid within 30 days of a fee note being submitted for payment. If you think you may have some difficulty paying within this time scale you must contact the clerks prior to work commencing or at the earliest point within the 30 day period if there appears to be an issue. Similarly if there is any dispute over the level of fees or service provided this must be raised within the 30 day period.
As well as the traditional payment by cheque we also accept payment by bank transfer and credit or debit card.
Account Name: St. Mary's Family Law Chambers
Bank: Royal Bank of Scotland
Sort Code: 16 26 32
Account Number: 11490420
Please quote our case reference number on any payments.
Where our case reference is not quoted we may not be able to cross reference the payment and may assume the fee is still outstanding. Following confirmation that the funds are in our account we will send out a receipt to confirm payment.
If you wish to pay by credit or debit card please telephone the clerks on 0115 950 3503. We use the Worldpay portal for payments and the payer will receive an e-mailed receipt shortly after payment has been received.
Late payment charges
Where the fee is not paid within 30 days and there is no agreement in place to defer payment beyond 30 days then we will seek to charge the fixed sum and interest in accordance with the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. We will also seek to recover the fees and late payment charges through the courts and we will refrain from doing any more work on a case until we are paid in full.
These are not actions we like to take and if you believe that there will be an issue in paying the fee within 30 days of submission of a fee note or invoice we would ask you to contact us before any work is undertaken.
Final hearing and conference fee
In order that your case can be properly prepared, counsel normally requires a conference approximately three to four weeks prior to the final hearing. The fee for the first day of the final hearing therefore includes a conference.
There are a number of reasons why it is preferable to hold a conference this far in advance of the final hearing:
- To allow counsel the time to properly prepare and consider the issues
- To offer early advice on:
- open offers
- contents of the bundle
- To reduce the risk of wasted costs through late adjournments
- To potentially reduce future costs through early settlement
- To assess whether all appropriate evidence has been gathered
- To get a fresh perspective on the case well in advance of the hearing
If following the conference the hearing is removed from counsel’s diary then we will agree a fee based on the amount of work completed up to that point.
If there is some good reason why a conference cannot take place in advance of the final hearing please inform the clerks and the fee can be adjusted accordingly.
We have recently started working with a third party which provides cost neutral legal fee payment plans direct to clients. The company who offer this service are Legal Cost Finance and they have recently been engaged by The Bar Council as one of its approved service providers. This service is only really financially viable for legal costs which exceed £2,000. Approval can be granted within 48 hours of application by the client. We are keen to work with you on offering this type of service to your clients and would ask you to contact us to discuss it further. More information on Legal Cost Finance can be found on their website: https://legalcostfinance.co.uk/
How can the payment plans offered by Legal Cost Finance be cost neutral?
The legal fees are reduced to cover the first year’s interest and the administration costs of setting up the facility. This works out at about 6% of the fee. The benefits are that you get paid the full amount up front, greatly improve cash flow, don’t have to worry about getting paid and the client gets to spread a substantial cost over a long period of time.
Won’t there be some issue with the Financial Services Authority if we offer the payment plan services?
No because you aren’t directly offering the service. You provide information to the client about Legal Cost Finance. They are a broker who will introduce the client to an appropriate lender.
What if the client defaults on the finance agreement, won’t I be liable?
No. The agreement is between the lender and the client and so you will not be liable.