Old Square Chambers undertake work by various means of funding, we accept instructions that are privately or publicly funded, trade union or insurance backed and where appropriate via Conditional Fee Agreement. We recognise the need to be competitive in our market place and we strive to offer premium legal services at competitive prices. We are always willing to discuss fee structures with our clients to meet every type of budget. We aim to remain transparent and flexible in our approach to fees, operating traditional brief fees, fixed fees and daily or hourly rates.
We consider fees on a case-by-case basis: they are calculated giving consideration to a number of variable factors, including seniority and experience of the barrister, the complexity of the matter, the value of claim and the length of time involved in preparation and attending Court as appropriate. However it is possible to agree set fees for particular types of work or appropriate hourly rates. If you wish to know more about counsel's fees, please contact one of the clerks.
Conditional Fee Agreements
Some members undertake work under Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) in appropriate cases. Not all cases are appropriate for CFAs and even where a CFA might, in theory, be a possibility, the barrister concerned may advise against it on considering the merits of the claim.
Contact the clerks’ room with details of the nature of your case, and they will agree to place it before a member to enable them to make a decision on funding arrangements. Chambers have a flexible policy on CFAs. Our standard CFA, which is based on the latest APIL/PIBA model can be found below, but modified terms can be agreed for the purposes of work being undertaken under a CFA when the solicitors are acting under a CCFA with a union.
for our Conditional Fee Agreement (amendable Word version)
for our Conditional Fee Agreement (pdf)
for our Standard Terms and Conditions for CFAs (pdf).
In the vast majority of cases, members are prepared to consider CFA cases on the basis that they will not charge a fee if they do not advise that the case should be accepted. We operate different systems with different clients according to their preference. For example, some clients prefer to instruct counsel at the outset and take a joint decision with counsel as to whether the case should be undertaken on a CFA. Others prefer to send in the instructions in the conventional way having already entered into a CFA with their lay client. Instructing counsel privately for an advice on merits and then to enter in to a CFA if the prospects are greater than 50%.
Some solicitors have expressed concern about the situation concerning returns if the original barrister instructed in the case is unable to attend a hearing. Chambers operates a screening process which should prevent this situation from becoming a problem. Any member of chambers sent instructions on a CFA basis is required to have the case screened by at least two other members before taking it on. Once that screening process has taken place, the case becomes an approved Chambers’ CFA whereby other members of the PI group are obliged to take on the case by way of return subject to their own professional commitments whatever their view of the original risk assessment.
For solicitors who instruct Chambers on a regular basis, we have systems in place to reduce the administrative burden imposed on both solicitors and counsel in a CFA situation. For example, we offer a short form of agreement containing all the mandatory clauses in an individual agreement, but referring to a generic agreement previously agreed between chambers and the firm of solicitors for other terms
We well appreciate the difficulties solicitors face in carrying out work on this basis and the clerks, who have a detailed knowledge of CFAs, are happy to deal with any queries which our clients may have. In this regard, Chambers are fortunate in that the former head of the PI group, Nigel Cooksley QC
, is the Chairman of the Bar Council CFA Panel.
Public and Licensed Access
The previously seemingly closed shop that is "The Bar" opened to Direct Public Access in 2004. Although the barrister's role remains the same members of the public are now able, in many circumstances, to instruct a barrister direct (Public Access). Only members of Chambers who have registered with the Bar Council and had the relevant training may undertake such work. Before accepting Public Access work, members have to consider whether the work in question is work which they are allowed to undertake, whether it is in the client’s interests and in the interests of justice for them to accept the work, as they may only accept if they are of the view that the interests of justice do not require a solicitor to be engaged.
Licensed access is a licensing system whereby organisations or individuals who are suitable to instruct barristers because they have expertise in particular areas of the law can apply to the Bar Council to be licensed to instruct barristers directly in those areas. The licence can cover advice or representation or both and permit licensees to instruct barristers either on their own affairs or on behalf of their clients. Details of the Terms of Work on which barristers offer their services to solicitors and the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme can be found on the Bar Council's Website.