Public Access

FAQs

If your question about instructing a Temple Garden Chambers barrister directly is not answered on this page, please contact our clerks.

·       It is cheaper and quicker to instruct a barrister when compared to the traditional route of first consulting a solicitor who may then refer the case onto a barrister. Because barristers have lower overheads than solicitors, their charging rates tend to be lower than solicitors with equivalent experience.

·       Instructing one lawyer rather than two (a barrister plus a solicitor) avoids duplication of work and delays, and saves you money.

·       You have clear control over spending: you can instruct a barrister to deal with the whole matter, or for a specific piece of work for a fixed fee. Our clerks can discuss a wide range of funding options with you.

·       You deal directly with the barrister who will work personally on your case. Communication does not need to be passed through anyone else.

·       Your dispute or legal problem may be solved more quickly and without going to court if you get advice on the law at an early stage. Barristers can also advise you about and represent you at meetings, negotiation, mediation and arbitration.

·       If you need urgent legal help, instructing a barrister directly means that you are immediately in touch with your chosen specialist. Barristers are experienced in dealing with urgent instructions.

We have developed an initial contact form. This will ensure that the Temple Garden Chambers clerks have the details that they need to allocate your case to the most appropriate barrister – someone with the expertise, experience and availability to help you. The barrister will then be able to check whether the Public Access scheme is suitable for the matter.

We will then advise you on any further information and documents required to complete the work.

Once a completed contact form has been received the clerks will pass the information to the most appropriate counsel and you will receive confirmation within two working days as to who is able to assist (subject to further information).  Once the relevant documents have been received your barrister will provide you with a client care letter within seven days along with terms for signing and returning.  Payment will then be required within seven days.  Once payment is received unless otherwise agreed or if there is a fixed hearing date counsel will return the necessary work within 28 days.

The Public Access scheme is open to all members of the public and all corporations, as long as the matter is suitable for the scheme.

There is no limit to the type of case that a barrister can handle under Public Access. However, it is highly desirable that only a barrister with the necessary expertise and experience for your type of case is instructed. Profiles of members of chambers are available on this website, as are summaries of our practice areas, but the best people to ask for guidance are the Temple Garden Chambers clerks.

There are some formal steps in legal proceedings that most barristers cannot do, such as issuing proceedings or applications, filing documents at court and serving documents on other parties. This is known as ‘conducting litigation’.

Barristers can draft all of these documents for you and can advise you on how to issue, file or serve them. Alternatively, they may advise you to engage a solicitor if you are unable to take these steps yourself (e.g. you are out of the country).

Barristers do not generally conduct correspondence. This is because they are often away from their offices (chambers) at court. Under the Public Access scheme you remain the point of contact for other parties, and the court or tribunal.

Of course, barristers can advise you on correspondence and can draft letters for you.

Some of our barristers are authorised to carry out litigation but the majority of them are not.  Those who cannot carry out litigation are able to carry out the following types of work:

Barristers advise on the law, draft documents for clients to use and appear on behalf of their client before courts or other organisations. Barristers do not handle client money or undertake the organisation or management of a case proceeding through a court.

(1)           drafting letters on your behalf.

(2)          appearing on your behalf to argue your case at court.

(3)          If a witness statement is needed from you, counsel can draft it from what you tell them. They may also be able to help finalise a witness statement from another person based on the information that person has provided.

(4)          advising you on the need for expert evidence and on the choice of a suitable expert. However they may not 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)          drafting formal court documents for you. However, counsel 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)          Barristers cannot go on the court record or provide their 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.

Where one of our barristers is authorised to carry out litigation they may perform all of the tasks described above and, in addition, they may also instruct an expert on your behalf, serve documents on your behalf, receive documents served on you and go onto the court records and provide an address for service. You should let us know whether you require a barrister who is authorised to conduct litigation.

Submitting a completed form does not make you liable to pay anything. You do not have to pay anything until the barrister has agreed to accept instructions and you have agreed how much to pay for the work in question.

The short answer is any way that you and your chosen barrister agree – subject to the code of conduct and regulatory rules. There are many different ways that you can pay for a barrister’s services, and our clerks are happy to discuss the options with you.

We always agree a fee with you before one of our barristers starts work.  The fee must be paid before the barrister starts working on your case and will be subject to VAT.  The fee will be based on the seniority of the barrister, the level of expertise required, the importance of the matter, the time scale required for completing  the work and the amount of time it is likely to take.  The fixed fee for the work will be agreed in advance and set out in the covering letter which accompanies the agreed terms.  We will quote for each item of work as and when required. If there are any additional costs, such as train fares or overnight accommodation, these will be set out in the covering letter. On average typical expenses for one day range from £50 for travel up to £500 for travel and accommodation.

Further information in relation to our services, pricing and timescales is available for the following specific types of public access work:

Personal Injury and Employment Tribunal cases.

It is possible that you may be eligible for public funding or “legal aid” as it is usually referred to. However, barristers  cannot do legal aid work unless they 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.

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 also allows you to get online advice and can help you find a legal adviser near you.

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.

Counsel can advise and represent you if:

•             you make an informed decision not to seek public funding;

•             you make a public funding application, eg you have applied to get legal aid to help fund your case, that is rejected;

•             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).

When you agree to sign 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 counsel without the benefit of any public funding that may be available to you.

Some barristers and solicitors are prepared to work under conditional fee agreements (where payment is contingent on a successful outcome) or under a damages-based-agreement (where payment is in the form of a percentage of the compensation awarded in the event of the claim being won) but counsel are not prepared to act under these arrangements on public access matters.

Barristers at Temple Garden Chambers are based in Middle Temple, in central London. We have accessible premises and are located near the Royal Courts of Justice. Our barristers can travel anywhere in the country, and around the world, to meet you and to represent you.

Our aim is to give you a good service at all times. However, if you have a complaint you are invited to let us know as soon as possible. A copy of our complaints procedure is available on our website at this link.


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Coronavirus Update

TGC continues proactively to safeguard against the risks posed by the spread of Coronavirus. We have a Covid-19 Committee who continue to monitor the situation and follow advice issued by the Government and Public Health England. We will be updating this page as and when new information becomes available. As of 6 July 2020, our London premises, 1 Harcourt Buildings, will be operating with a reduced clerking team in attendance. The remaining staff members and barristers will continue working remotely. We wish to reassure everyone that our contingency plans enable us to continue to provide our services.

Telephoning us

When calling our switchboard number, it will be diverted to a member of the clerking team who will be able to assist in the usual way. All direct dials in Chambers are diverted to be answered remotely.

Emailing us & Sending Instructions

Please send all instructions via email directly to clerks@tgchambers.com. We would be grateful if this could be sent in an orderly fashion to enable working from a screen manageable. We are able to receive hard copy instructions via DX or Post, if necessary. However, we have a preference for electronic documents wherever possible.

Please continue to communicate with barristers directly via phone or email.

Conferences, Joint Settlement Meetings & Mediations

Conferences, meetings and mediations will take place remotely, either by telephone or video until further notice. Group Telephone calls and video calls can be easily arranged. If an in-person meeting is felt necessary please see our Covid-19 Information page for full criteria.

Court Hearings

We are following the Government’s advice closely, which is changing daily. In keeping with that advice, we will continue to service hearings remotely, where possible and as instructed by the hosting Court. In-Person hearings will be accommodated by members of TGC. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Making a payment

If you do not already pay us by BACS, going forward please make arrangements to do so. Please contact the clerks who can supply you with the relevant BACS details.

If you wish to discuss our policy and procedure relating to coronavirus, please do not hesitate to contact our senior clerk Dean Norton on 07535 753098 or dnorton@tgchambers.com.

To learn more visit our Covid-19 Information page.