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Transparency

Our experienced team of clerks, led by Gary Oliver, have an in-depth understanding of the practices of our barristers.  They are able to advise clients on choosing the appropriate barrister or team most suitable for the issues on which advice and representation are sought.

The areas of law in which members of Chambers most commonly provide legal services are described in the practice sections of our website and in greater detail in the individual barrister CVs.  The legal services most commonly provided are advocacy and advisory.  

The most commonly used pricing models used for legal service charging are either by an agreed hourly rate, a fixed fee or an agreed brief fee and refreshers.  The brief fee model is a fixed fee covering preparation for a hearing and the first day of trial.  Thereafter a refresher, or a fixed daily fee may be agreed.  Fees will include VAT where applicable.

The clerks will discuss with a prospective client the factors which will be taken into account in reaching an agreement on the fees model suitable to any case. These may include the timescale of the provision of legal services, the complexity of the matter, the availability of the client, any relevant third parties and the barrister or barrister team. Other factors will include the volume of documents for review, the need for additional information or documents, court waiting times and the urgency of the matter.      

Diary bookings and fee negotiations are undertaken by our clerks on behalf of the members of these Chambers. Members of Chambers are prepared to consider different fee arrangements and the clerks will if requested give cost/time estimates prior to work being undertaken, based on the information made available to them.  

Terms of work

1. Standard Contractual Terms:

From 25th May 2018, following the coming into force of the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) (“GDPR”) Members of Blackstone Chambers will be accepting instructions on the Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012 (updated 2018) (“Standard Contractual Terms 2018”) amended to refer to the relevant changes brought by the GDPR, unless otherwise expressly agreed in writing. These Terms can be found here. 

Prior to 25th May 2018, members of Chambers have accepted instructions on the previous contractual Standard Contractual Terms 2012 which can be found here

Where members of Chambers accept instructions in civil (non-family) legal aid matters, such instructions will be accepted upon Chambers’ standard terms and conditions applicable to civil (non-family) legal aid matters. A copy of the terms can be found here and include an amendment to incorporate reference to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.

 2. Alternative contractual arrangements:

Members of Chambers may be prepared to consider two alternative terms of engagement though they are not obliged under the Cab Rank Rule to accept instructions on such terms:

(a)  From 25th May 2018, an Agreement for the supply of legal services by a barrister in a commercial case – the form of agreement published jointly by COMBAR/CLLS (version 3.0). Prior to 25th May 2018, the provisions of an agreement were made pursuant to COMBAR/CLLS (version 2.1).  

In either case the payment basis under the terms of the agreement will be Basis A and no other version of the Agreement will be adopted; or

(b) Instructions may be accepted on the basis of the Bar’s former practice (formerly Annex G to the Code of Conduct, adapted to reflect the discontinuance of the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme) as applicable prior to 31st January 2013.  

In any event, an agreement under (a) or (b) above must be expressly agreed in writing;  a barrister’s clerk has authority for these purposes to enter into an agreement incorporating the alternative terms of engagement on behalf of a barrister.

The new Standard Contractual Terms do not apply in circumstances:

  • Where the lay client is to be a party to the contract, unless the lay client is the Authorised Person; or
  • In a conditional fees agreement (“CFA”) unless the CFA specifically provides for the Standard Contractual Terms 2018 to apply (clause 2.4.2 of the Standard Contractual Terms 2018); or
  • For publicly funded matters where the barrister is paid direct by the Legal Services Commission as party of the Community Legal Service or as part of the Criminal Defence Service or by the Crown Prosecution Service unless the barrister and the instructing party agree to adapt the Standard Contractual Terms, provided that no provision of the Bar Code of Conduct is thereby infringed.

3. Additional information about instructing barristers:

  • Full information about the Code of Conduct is set out in the Bar Standard’s Board Handbook and is published on the Bar Standards Board website.
  • Guidance notes on the COMBAR/CLLS Agreement can be downloaded here. 
  • The Withdrawal of Credit Scheme was, from 31st January 2013, replaced by the scheme called “List of Defaulting Solicitors and other Authorised Persons”. Information on these changes in so far as they relate to complaints made against Authorised Persons can be accessed here.
  • A guide to the Standard Contractual Terms published by the Bar Council is available here.  
If you have any queries about members of these Chambers or other matters relating to Blackstone Chambers or this site, please contact Gary Oliver our Senior Clerk, or Julia Hornor our Chambers Director.

Licensed Access

Members of Chambers may also accept instructions via the Bar Council’s Licensed Access scheme from professionals who have been granted a licence to instruct a barrister directly.  For more information about licensed access please see the Bar Council web site.

Please contact Gary Oliver or a member of the clerking team for more information and assistance regarding instruction of members of Blackstone Chambers under the direct access scheme.

Direct public access to barristers

Currently only one member of Chambers is able to accept instructions directly from lay clients without the involvement of a solicitor or other intermediary. Any enquiries about public access instructions should be addressed to our clerks Lewis Walker or, in his absence, Gary Oliver.

For further information, please see the Bar Standards Board’s Public Access Guidance for Lay Clients

Clerks

Staff