Confused about how a barrister could help you? Worried about how much they might charge?
New rules mean barristers must give you clear information before they start working for you.
Who can help and how long it will take
On their websites, barristers need to say what type of work they do. So, if they work in family law or employment law, they should say this. If they represent people in criminal trials, their websites must say so.
Barristers should also give you an idea of how long they expect to work on your case.
How much it will cost
Barristers need to tell you how they charge for their work. They must explain that you can get a quote for the work you need – and tell you how to get one.
Barristers should also tell you if they offer 'fixed fee' deals for the work you need. If they quote by the hour, they must estimate how much time your work will take.
If barristers accept work from members of the public rather than through solicitors, they should publish their fees. This allows you to compare their fees with the fees of other barristers. Such 'price transparency' applies to
- employment tribunals (for employers and employees)
- financial disputes in divorce
- immigration appeals (first-tier tribunal)
- Inheritance Act advice
- licensing applications for business premises
- personal injury claims
- summary only motoring offences (for defendants)
- winding-up petitions.
You can complain
All barristers need to tell you how to complain about their work. They should explain your right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, how to complain and any time limits on complaining.
Barristers must let you know they are regulated by the Bar Standards Board. They need to supply links so that you can visit the regulator’s website to check the types of service they are allowed to offer and their record with the regulator.
You will be able to find all of the information described in this article on any barrister’s website. If they do not have a website, they will give you a print-out. Don’t let them start work for you until you have seen it.
The new rules for barristers are going to make it easier for you to choose a barrister.
The new rules came into force on 1 July 2019. In January 2020, the Bar Standards Board will start checking that barristers are following them.
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