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Devon Chambers Transparency Document

In 2018 the Bar Standards Board (BSB) commenced a consultation process in response to the Competition and Market Authority regarding Transparency relating to how barristers and Chambers calculate their fees. 

This follows the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) recommendation in December 2016 that the legal regulators deliver a step change in transparency standards to help consumers understand the price and service they will receive, what redress is available and the regulatory status of their provider. In the two years following the CMA’s report, the BSB has published a policy consultation on transparency standards, our revised approach to improving transparency and finally, a consultation on the new transparency rules. The rules which came into force on 1 July 2019 therefore follow an extensive period of consultation with the profession.  From January 2020 it is mandatory that all Chambers provide this information clearly on their website.

Devon Chambers is regulated by the Bar Standards Board. More information , and contact details, can be  found on this link - https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/

Areas of Practice

Devon Chambers receive, and accept, instructions on a variety of areas of law within Criminal, Civil and Family Law. A full list of our practice areas can be found on our website.

Chambers main areas of practice are Criminal Law, Personal Injury, Landlord and Tenant, and Private and Public Family Law.

Quotations for Fees

Professional, direct access client and licensed access clients can contact Devon Chambers to obtain a quotation for legal services.

For professional clients please call 01752 661659 and ask to speak to the relevant clerk. If you wish to obtain a quote by email, please email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For Direct Access and Licensed access clients, please complete the form on the direct access link on our website.  Once the form has been completed you can expect to receive a quote within 48 hours. If your enquiry is urgent please specify this on the form.

All quotes will be provided within 14 days of the enquiry and there will be no charge for providing a quote.

While quotes will be binding, if the scope of the legal services change, then the quotation will not be binding. In a clerk providing a quote, this does not amount to a member of Devon Chambers accepting instructions. This will be confirmed on receipt of papers.

Pricing

Fee are quoted for legal services and take in to account several determining factors. The clerks at Devon Chambers have extensive knowledge, in their areas of law, and will be able to provide an accurate quote. This can either be on hourly rates or on a fixed fee basis. Which pricing model we used will depend on several variable determining factors.

The determining factors that are considered include –

  • the complexity of the case
  • any novel or unusual areas of law
  • the seniority of the barrister
  • the amount of preparation involved
  • the precise nature of the work required to be done
  • geographical factors , such as travel and location

The complexity of the case

When providing a quote, the clerk will take in to consideration the value and complexities of the case.  This may include, but is not limited to, the gravity of the case, the potential effect on the client’s liberty, livelihood and family and any monetary values involved.

Novel or unusual areas of law

At Devon Chambers we have barristers who have specialist knowledge in all areas of law.  It is anticipated that there will be a barrister available to deal with the case who has the requisite legal knowledge and experience.  The barristers at Chambers comply with their professional obligations to ensure that they are up to date with their legal knowledge.  Occasionally an issue may arise with a novel area of law and quotations will be provided appropriately to factor this in. 

Level of barrister’s seniority

As a general rule the more senior the barrister the more experience they have which will usually attract a higher hourly/daily rate. Across the various specialties Chambers has to offer, these can widely differ so our preference is to quote once we know more about the specific circumstances of a case and what is required. 

Amount of preparation

The amount of preparation time will impact upon the fee that is quoted.  The clerks can provide an estimate on costs, and time spent on a case will often be an important piece of information to accurately provide a quote for the services our barristers can provide.

The precise nature of the work

The fee will depend upon whether the barrister is required to attend court, advise in conference or advise in writing. The length of time advising in conference or writing is a factor in any fee quote. The longer the conference takes the higher the fee will be. This applies to representation at court. The longer a barrister is at court will affect the fee quoted. 

Geographical Factors

Devon Chambers is based in Plymouth and we cover all courts in the South West. We do have counsel who travel to all courts in the UK in all areas of law. In some instances, we may have to quote travel expenses. We can include these in the fee or these can be quoted separately.

Pricing Models

Common Price models included brief fees and refreshers; fixed fees and hourly rates and these are applied to both public access and professional clients.

Barristers at Devon Chambers accept instructions under a conditional fee agreement (“no win, no fee” agreements) in certain circumstances and certain areas of law. We do not accept instructions on conditional fee basis for public access cases.

Instructions we can accept

Some barristers can only be instructed through a solicitor.  We have some barristers who act on a ‘public access’ basis. This means a member of the public can instruct them directly without a solicitor being involved. More information on this is provided below.

Details of our barristers who accept instructions directly from the public can be contained by following the link on our website (“Getting a barrister to help you”).

There might be occasions when the public access  barrister will recommend your case will benefit from the assistance of a solicitor particularly if the case is likely to involve significant amounts of litigation and lodging of Court documents. Barrister’s diaries are often busy and this can affect their ability to be able to respond immediately to communications with other parties involved in the legal proceedings and the assistance of a solicitor is both helpful and sensible.

Timescales

Once we are informed about your legal requirements and circumstances we can advise in relation to timescale. This can be dependent upon the particular circumstances of your case. For instance, if you have been provided with a Court date you might need to undertake certain work to be ready for that date or provide the Court with a response to their request. It is important to inform Chambers of such matters to confirm they can undertake the work within the required timeframe.

If we are being asked to provide an advice on a case we will let you know when you could expect the work to be completed in order to confirm if the timescale is acceptable to the client once you have provided the necessary documentation to us to assist.

The clerks will usually be able to factor in such issues as current workloads and diary commitments together with any holiday commitments the barrister may have booked. There might be times when something unexpected happens e.g. illness, which could cause a delay in the timescale of providing the client with a piece of work. In such circumstances the clerk would contact you to advise you of the position in order to assess whether the case would benefit from being passed to someone of similar experience or to explain that the work required will be slightly delayed due to unforeseen circumstances to keep the Client informed of progress.

For written work, Devon Chambers will usually endeavour to ensure that work is returned within 14 days, unless a shorter or longer timescale is agreed.

Members registered for VAT

Once a clerk has received all the relevant information, and has taken in to account the above factors, they will then provide a quote for the work/advice required. All members are VAT registered and so VAT will be applied to any fee quotes provided. You will be given the fee quote both with and without VAT.

Complaints Procedure & Barrister Register

Devon Chambers complaints’ procedure can be found on our website.

The link below is for the decision data on the Legal Ombudsman’s website:

https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/raising-standards/data-and-decisions/

The decision data on the Legal Ombudsman website shows providers who received an Ombudsman’s decision in the previous 12 months.

The link below is to the Barristers Register page on the Bar Standards Board’s website and shows which barristers have a practicing certificate and whether a barrister has any disciplinary findings.

https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/regulatory-requirements/the-barristers'-register/ 

Copy of the Transparency Guidelines

If you require a copy of these guidelines, and any of the links suggested, please contact one of the clerks and a copy can be sent to you in the DX or by post.

All of the above information is annually checked and reviewed. The last review was completed on 31 January 2020.