Fee Structure - FAQ's
If you are a solicitor or a lay client considering instructing Roderick you will find some useful information about how our fees are charged here.
We pride ourselves on dealing with fees in a clear and fair way. It is better for you, and for us, if all parties know exactly where they stand on fees in advance. Have a look at the frequently asked questions below and please feel free to contact Arabella (Practice Manager) if you have any other queries.
The information provided here is for guidance only. It does not, and is not intended to, vary or amend in any way the terms and conditions applicable to your contractual relationship with us. For Solicitors, our standard terms are The Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorised persons 2012 (updated for the GDPR in 2018). These are available on the website or we can send you a copy on request. Public Access clients should refer to their Client Care Letter for the terms applicable to them.
Who should I contact about fees?
Arabella deals with all matters related to fees.
Can I ask for a fee quote or estimate?
• Of course. Quotes and estimates can be given on request as long as we have enough information about your case, and the work required, on which to base the fee. We can do this over the phone, but email is preferred, since the information is then on record for all parties.
• Depending on how much information you are able to give us, we can either provide a specific quote or an estimate. For hearings, the estimate is usually a fee bracket, so for example, it might be: “the Brief Fee is likely to be in the range of £X to £Y plus VAT”. For advisory work the estimate would be based on the likely time taken, so we might say: “that is likely to be approximately 2 hours work at Roderick’s standard hourly rate of …£X. plus VAT”.
Do you charge VAT?
Yes, all fees are subject to VAT. Your quote or estimate will make this clear.
Do you charge by the hour or by a fixed fee or some other method?
• Usually by the hour for things like advising and drafting when instructed by a solicitor.
• Usually by a fixed fee for Public Access clients.
• Usually by a fixed “Brief Fee” for a hearing, together with a fixed “Refresher Fee” for each subsequent day of hearings lasting more than a day. This applies to all clients.
• We can also agree fixed or capped fees for most pieces of work if required.
Remember that our service is truly bespoke and there is no “one size fits all approach”. We will always do our best to find a solution that suits all parties.
Do you have a standard hourly rate?
Yes, fees are most commonly charged by reference to Roderick’s standard hourly rate. In exceptional cases (eg highly complex or very high value cases) a higher hourly rate may be used, but you will always be informed in advance if your case is of this type. You are welcome to contact Arabella to find out what the current standard hourly rate is.
Do you charge for travel and/or accommodation or any other “extras"?
No, as a general rule there are no “extras” charged and Roderick will travel throughout the UK without charging additionally for travel or accommodation. If Roderick’s fees are higher than another Barrister that you are considering, that fee level reflects his considerable experience and expertise and does not reflect geographical variations. You can confidently instruct Roderick wherever you are based. In the unlikely event of there being any extra costs, they would be brought to your attention in advance and your agreement sought.
How do I know how much the fees will be?
• In most cases you will be informed of the actual or likely fees before the work is done. The only exception would be for small pieces of work in circumstances where Roderick has a longstanding relationship with a solicitor or client who knows the hourly rate and has a good understanding of the time that the work is likely to take.
• For a fixed fee you will be asked to agree the fee beforehand.
• For work done on an hourly rate you will be given an estimate of how much time we believe the work will take and notified of the rate.
• Unless the fee is fixed, you will be billed for the actual time taken to do the work. You may therefore be billed more or less than the estimate. We have many years of experience so the estimate is usually at or very close to actual time taken. It rarely happens, but if we find something that we had not previously been aware of that will significantly increase the time needed to do the work, we will contact you as soon as possible so that we can agree a way forward.
Can you provide a standard list of Brief Fees for hearings?
•In general no. That is because, at Roderick’s level of seniority, all the cases will be individual, some more complex than others and there is no “one size fits all” fee for a hearing. Fees mainly vary due to a combination of the quantity of work involved and the complexity of that work, both of which will impact on the time taken to prepare for each hearing.
•That said, as a guide, a 1-day hearing in the Employment Tribunal is likely to cost in the region of £3,000 plus VAT. Longer cases are likely to incur a higher Brief Fee (to reflect the increased preparation time) and the Refresher Fee for most cases is likely to be in the region of £2,000 to £2,500 plus VAT per day.
At what point do I become liable for the fees?
•For hearings, you will be told this when you agree the fees. The Brief Fee is normally incurred between 2 and 4 weeks before the hearing date (whether or not we have received any papers or written instructions/Brief). If the case settles, is adjourned or comes out of the diary for any reason, the Brief Fee remains payable if it has been incurred. This is because, by that stage it is unlikely that Roderick will receive other work to replace your hearing. However, you would not normally be liable for any refresher fees.
•For other work such as conferences and drafting, you become liable for the fees as soon as Roderick has completed the work. If you ask Roderick to stop work when he is part way through, you will need to pay for what he has done on a pro rata basis (including for any preparation time).
•Where Roderick has started preparation for an upcoming hearing which is cancelled but there has not been a Brief Fee incurred, you would normally be charged for the work done on a pro rata basis.
When should the fees be paid?
Unless otherwise agreed, all work received via a solicitor is carried out under our Standard Terms which contain full information. They are available on our website or can be sent upon request. A Fee Note will normally be sent out by email shortly after the work has been done or after the fee has otherwise been incurred. That Fee Note is payable within 30 days of its date. Once paid, a Receipted VAT Invoice will be sent by email.
What payment methods do you accept?
Our preferred method is by bank transfer. We do not accept card payments.
Do you charge interest on late payments?
We are entitled to charge interest on late payments under our Standard Terms and occasionally we have to do this to encourage payment. However, as we provide a timely and efficient service so we usually find that our clients are equally efficient when it comes to paying our fees and that is much appreciated. Arabella will remind you by email if you have any overdue fees to pay.
I am instructing you direct under the Public Access Scheme – is the fee structure the same as if I were to instruct you via a solicitor?
Very similar. Please see the FAQ’s above. This should answer most of the questions you have, but you should also note the points below.
Are there any differences between fees charged for Public Access work and those charged solicitors acting on a lay client's behalf?
•Basically no. The overall level of barrister's fees for lay clients will be much the same whether you instruct direct or via a solicitor.
•The hourly rate is usually the same as for work received via a solicitor and you may be surprised to find how competitive that is when compared to a solicitor’s hourly rates.
•Fees for Public Access work are usually paid in advance of the work being done. Many solicitors will also ask for their client's money on account of fees and in that case there would be no difference between instructing direct or via a solicitor. Some solicitors might bill you afterwards, in that instance you would be paying the fees at a slightly later date.
•The main difference is that Public Access fees are usually Fixed fees even for paperwork and advising. This is because, unlike solicitors, Barristers are not permitted to hold client funds on account. However, the Fixed Fee will be calculated by reference to the time the work will take and the hourly rate. We have many years of experience at estimating the time taken to do a piece of work, so Roderick's fees would be much the same whichever way you instructed him.
•An alternative to fixing the fee is for you to agree to wait and see how long the work takes and then pay for this at the standard hourly rate. However, this is only possible for work done in writing and you will not receive the work until your payment has cleared so it can take a little longer this way.
•Remember that one of the main attractions of instructing by Direct Access is that your overall legal bill can be much lower becuase there are certain things that you could do yourself instead of paying a solicitor to do them. Examples are: collating documents and setting out instructions to your barrister, engaging in correspondence and running litigation.
Why are fees for Public Access usually charged in advance?
•Primarily because it gives complete clarity for all parties where usually the person instructing us is not a lawyer and will therefore be unfamiliar with the process. You will always know what fees are due before any work is done and you will always have agreed them in advance. This should give you peace of mind: Roderick will not carry out any chargeable work without you agreeing to it, and the fees, beforehand.
•In addition, the fees need to be fixed because, unlike solicitors, barristers are not permitted to hold client funds in an account from which they can pay the fees.
What paperwork will I receive as a Public Access Client?
•You will receive a Client Care Letter prior to each piece of work being undertaken which will set out the full terms and conditions. It is important to note that these terms are individual to you and that they are not the same as the Standard Terms that apply to instructions received via a solicitor.
•You will usually receive a VAT Invoice before commencement of work and then a Receipted version of that invoice to record your payment being made.
Do you ever provide an initial consultation without charge?
•The Public Access page on our website gives fuller information about the process but, in short, Public Access is not necessarily suitable for all cases or clients, so there will be an initial screening stage for Roderick to consider your case.
•if you would like to instruct Roderick you would need to contact us and give us a summary of what you require. Roderick will then consider whether or not your case is suitable for Public Access and we will let you know. If we need further information, such as sight of documents, we will tell you.
•There is no charge for this initial screening stage.
•Thereafter you would need to agree to a fee for the necessary work.
•In practice, the work will usually take 1 hour or more.
•Roderick provides highly specialist advice and it is not possible for him to provide, say, “30 minutes free initial advice”, which in our experience is rarely sufficient to be of any real value in any event.
I am instructing you via my solicitor – so how am I involved with fees?
Individual solicitors may work in different ways so you should speak to your solicitor about this, but here are some general points.
•Your solicitor instructs Roderick on your behalf.
•Your solicitor is liable for the fees and will probably ask you to provide some money on account from which Roderick’s fees can be paid, or your solicitor will pay them and then seek reimbursement from you.
•Your solicitor can provide you with copies of Fee Notes and VAT Receipts for your records.
•As you will ultimately be paying the fees it follows that you can discuss all aspects of the instruction, including fees, with your solicitor.
•All the FAQ’s above will give you an understanding of how Roderick’s fees are charged.
•Please remember that if you have any queries about Roderick’s fees you would normally need to speak to your solicitor (and ask them to ask us if necessary) rather than coming directly to us. Enormous confusion can result from communications not being routed via your solicitor.