Terms of Business
Civitas Law aims to provide the highest levels of service to its lay and professional clients by:
- Offering a service which is consistent, professional and competitive in our core areas of law, provided by barristers who are dedicated, knowledgeable and approachable;
- Turning paperwork around within 21 days of receipt or such shorter period as has been agreed in advance with instructing solicitors;
- Continually seeking to develop and improve our service in response to any client feedback received and dealing with any client concerns effectively and efficiently;
- Providing a helpful, courteous and efficient administration team and to invest in their training and development;
- Implementing and maintaining an effective training programme for pupils, continuing professional development for barristers and the provision of training and seminars to clients;
- Using state of the art information technology and on-line services to maximise client care and efficiency;
- Ensuring our premises and facilities are safe, accessible and comfortable for all personnel and visitors;
- Operating a policy of equal opportunities for all.
Fees and Terms of Payment
Barristers at Civitas Law undertake work funded by various means, including privately and publicly funded, trade union or insurance backed and via Conditional Fee Agreement. We generally consider fees on a case-by-case basis, but it is possible to enter into set fee structures for particular types of volume work. We aim to provide a premium legal service to our clients to meet every type of budget. We will render a fee note for all our work in accordance with the Bar Council’s Code of Conduct and as modified by our standard contractual terms which are set out here. In the event of any conflict between the two our standard terms prevail.
All work accepted by Barristers at Civitas Law is accepted on a fully enforceable contractual basis. The precise nature of the contractual basis, and the obligations arising under it will depend on the means by which that work is funded. The submission of instructions to counsel directed to a particular Barrister constitutes your offer to engage the services of that Barrister in carrying out the work specifically within the scope of the instructions in return for a fee which is either agreed in advance or otherwise will be determined in accordance with the relevant contractual basis. In the case of privately paid work that remuneration will be based on the applicable hourly rate for that Barrister multiplied by the time taken to carry out the work. All Fees are subject to VAT. The Barristers commencement of the performance of the work constitutes acceptance of that offer and on the terms indicated.
Normally, fees for paperwork and conferences are not agreed in advance, but estimates can be provided based upon an individual’s hourly rate and the time likely to be involved. When completing a fee note, we take into account the seniority of the barrister who carried out the work, the degree to which specialist knowledge was required, the complexity and urgency of the matter and the total time taken to complete the work, including, for conferences, any travelling involved. If on receipt of the fee note you disagree with the amount charged you must raise the matter with the Clerks within 30 days of the date of despatch of the fee note. If you do not do this it will be deemed accepted. Once a fee note is past 30 days from despatch it shall constitute conclusive evidence that the fee is due and in the amount specified.
Fees for Court Hearings in privately paid cases are usually agreed in advance of the hearing and take into account the length of the hearing, the preparation time likely to be involved, the seniority of the barrister concerned, the degree of travelling involved, and the nature and complexity of the work. Fees for any Hearing for which Counsel has been booked shall be agreed either at the time of booking Counsel or no later than 24 hours thereafter unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so. In the absence of agreement for whatever reason, Counsel shall be entitled to calculate his or her brief fee according to the formula: Counsel’s usual daily rate x (the number of days for which Counsel has been booked + 1) and his or her refresher at Counsel’s usual daily rate. So, for example, if Counsel’s usual daily rate is £1,500, a 3 day case would be charged at £6,000 on the brief and £1,500 a day refresher. Counsel in all cases reserves the right to reject any instructions if no, or no suitable, fee has been agreed prior to the hearing.
On privately funded cases it is a strict contractual condition that any fee note despatched is settled within 60 days of despatch. It is important to note that all Barristers’ work at Civitas is undertaken on a contractual basis which is directly enforceable at law. If this is not acceptable to you, you need to agree alternative terms with us in writing in advance. We adhere to the Bar Council’s Code of Practice in respect of the issue of payment reminders, fees processing and credit control, however, in the event of non payment all our rights in law are fully reserved. At our option enforcement may also include use of the Bar Council’s Withdrawal of Credit Scheme. Any solicitor named on that scheme will be unable to instruct a barrister unless payment is received in advance or the work is publicly funded.
Interest on Unpaid Fees
In every case of non payment of fees within the time stipulated, the fees outstanding from time to time will carry simple interest at 2% above Bank of England Base Rate rate from time to time from the latest date by which each fee should have been paid. The submission of a fee note with interest calculated and printed thereon constitutes conclusive evidence of that sum both as to amount and as to that sum being due and owing.
We also undertake work under Conditional Fee Agreements and collective Conditional Fee Agreements. A copy of the standard Civitas Law Conditional Fee Agreement for Personal Injuries and Clinical Negligence cases can be found on our website. Payment of fees becomes due for any case conduced under a conditional fee agreement within three months of the conclusion of the case. In the event that a barrister’s fees are not paid in full within the time stipulated above, the fees outstanding from time to time will carry simple interest at at 2% above Bank of England Base Rate rate from time to time from the latest date by which each fee should have been paid.
Delivery of Briefs for Trial and Cancellation Fees – Civil Litigation
Solicitors agree to deliver the brief for trial not in any event less than 7 days before the trial and otherwise in accordance with Counsel’s specific advice if any in the case or otherwise as agreed with Counsel; further in any case where Counsel has been retained for the trial hearing (in circumstances where the Solicitor considers that Counsel has an obligation to appear at the hearing and Counsel’s diary has been marked to reflect that obligation) cancellation fees for Counsel shall be due as follows,whether the brief has been delivered or not:
(a) in the case of a fast track case (or one not allocated to track) the as to 50% of full brief fee if Counsel’s booking is cancelled in the period 14-8 days (inclusive) prior to the trial date, and 100% if Counsel’s booking is cancelled in the period 7-1 days inclusive prior to the trial date;
(b) in the case of a multi track case (or appeal) as to 25% of full brief fee if Counsel’s booking is cancelled in the period 21-15days (inclusive) prior to the trial date, as to 50% if Counsel’s booking is cancelled in the period 14-8 days (inclusive) prior to the trial date, and as to 100% if Counsel’s booking is cancelled in the period 7-1 days (inclusive) prior to the trial date.
The above fees will become payable irrespective of the reason for cancellation.
Delivery of Briefs for Hearings and Cancellation Fees – All Other Cases
Solicitors agree to deliver the brief for Hearing not less than 7 days before the Hearing or earlier if agreed with Counsel.
In any case where Counsel has been retained for a Hearing cancellation fees for Counsel shall be due as follows,whether the brief has been delivered or not:
(a) 25% of the full brief fee if Counsel’s booking is cancelled in the period 21-15days (inclusive) prior to the Hearing date,
(b) 50% of the full brief fee if Counsel’s booking is cancelled in the period 14-8 days (inclusive) prior to the Hearing date,
(c) 100% of the full brief fee if Counsel’s booking is cancelled in the period 7-1 days (inclusive) prior to the Hearing date.
The above fees will become payable irrespective of the reason for cancellation.
Cancellation Fees for Interim Hearings and Conferences or Consultations in any Type of Case
If a conference or interim hearing is cancelled for any reason prior to the scheduled time of the conference or interim hearing, then wasted preparation fees shall be payable which fees shall include a fee in respect of the time which would have been spent in conference.
If you have any queries, please contact us.
Telephone: 0845 0713 007