How much does legal advice and representation cost?

Legal advice and representation can be expensive. The cost will depend on a range of factors, including the nature of your case and how experienced a barrister you need. Every client and every case is different.

Our practice management team provide fee quotations and budgets for each instruction. We will ordinarily consider fees on a case-by-case basis. Different factors need to be taken into account when deciding on the appropriate fee structure for a case, including risk, complexity, geographical location (of the client and the court where the matter may be litigated) and the seniority of the appropriate barrister required for your case. Our charges are commensurate with the service provided, and we are always willing to discuss how our fees are structured in order to find a solution that works for clients. Typically we offer one or more of the following fee models to our clients:

  • Fixed fee arrangements. This is when a barrister considers how much work they will have to do in total and how much this will cost. The client is then given an overall amount that has to be paid for the work to be done. 
  • Hourly rate arrangements. This is when a barrister will have a set rate they charge for each hour of work they do. They will then keep track of how many hours of work they have done, and this will be the final cost. An estimate of the number of hours it will take can sometimes be given. 
  • Conditional fee arrangement (CFA). This is when how much to be paid will depend on whether the barrister wins the client’s case. For example, the agreement may be that if a client does not win, they do not have to pay the barrister, or they may have to pay a smaller fixed amount and only need to pay the rest if the outcome is a win; in recognition of the risk that a barrister will have taken on your behalf, a success fee may be added to the normal legal fees. It will usually be necessary for you to take out insurance to cover the opposing parties’ legal costs if the action is unsuccessful.
  • Damages based agreement (DBA). Under a (DBA) we agree that we will not charge you if we do not recover damages for you, but if we do recover damages for you, in recognition of the risk that the barrister has taken on your behalf, the amount that you pay to us will be determined by reference to a percentage of the amount recovered by you from the claim. The costs recovered from the losing side would be set off against the DBA fee, reducing the amount payable by you to any shortfall between the costs recovered and the DBA fee.

Certain pricing models are only available in certain circumstances. A mixture of funding types can sometimes be beneficial.

Outer Temple Chambers’ most commonly used pricing model is a fee based on hourly rates. Each barrister has an hourly rate which takes account of the market and the individual barrister’s skills and experience. The hourly rate for a particular case or a specific piece of work will normally be agreed in advance and will reflect factors such as complexity, the value of the case and urgency. The hourly rate covers matters such as reading documents, preparing written documents (eg advices, court documents or witness statements), researching law and discussion of the case with clients.

Although charges for paperwork and advice are often based on hourly rates, we are always willing to consider alternative or flexible fee structures depending upon the circumstances of each case, including fixed and capped fees where appropriate, phased or task-based fees, and advice on litigation funder arrangements.

Sometimes we will agree with a client a fixed fee model where we estimate in advance the likely hours of work needed to deliver the required service (such estimate will be made solely on the information provided by the client) so as to provide a fixed fee. Fixed fees can provide more certainty in knowing in advance how much the cost of the work will be and are popular with some clients. We may agree the fees for a particular piece of work in advance of that work being done. Where fees are agreed in advance of the work being done, we may ask you to agree to pay the fee before carrying out the work.

Where it is not appropriate to agree the fee in advance, an estimate will provided to you. We may also place a ceiling on the fee to be charged for certain work so as to provide you with some certainty. If, when finding out more about the case, we consider the work that is proposed will take longer than the time agreed, we will contact you to arrange and amend the contract.

Fees for a court or tribunal hearing will usually consist of a ‘brief’ fee and, in more substantial cases, ‘refreshers’. Dependent on the location and nature of the case, additional expenses may be chargeable for travel and overnight accommodation and subsistence, when required.

A brief fee is an agreed fixed fee that covers all pre-hearing direct preparation for the case (eg reviewing papers, preparing cross-examinations, researching legal issues, preparing a closing speech) and the first day of hearing.

A refresher is the fixed agreed fee for any subsequent day of the hearing after the first day.

Sometimes a reservation fee may be levied for each day of tribunal/court work that a barrister is booked for, which is payable if the case settles or withdraws before a brief fee is incurred. This reflects the fact that a barrister is committing to your case and is not accepting other bookings for the dates in issue. The reservation fee would normally be deducted from a brief fee if a case goes ahead. There may certain instances – such as where a case is adjourned at short notice before starting and/or to a date months ahead – that a ‘re-reading’ fee will be applied, to reflect the fact the barrister has to re-read all the papers before a hearing resumes.

In appropriate cases we are able to consider certain types of conditional fee agreements and damages based agreements. Barristers effectively share the risk of legal action with clients. We will use conditional fee agreements (no win, no fee) for some types of cases or as part of a multiple funding arrangement. For some fee agreements we offer clear success criteria.

VAT at the relevant rate (currently 20%) is payable, if applicable, on top of all fees quoted. Most of our barristers are registered for VAT and VAT numbers are shown in the top right hand corner of each fee note / invoice. Any expenses incurred by barristers in relation to the legal matter will be added as agreed at the outset.

For our fees based on hourly rates, the rates vary primarily according to how senior a barrister is, how urgent the case is and how complicated the matter is.

We will always tell you what the first stage of your case will cost or is likely to cost before any work is done on your behalf. Wherever possible we will give you an exact price, known as a fixed fee. If we do quote you a fixed fee we will never go higher than that amount unless we have contacted you first and you have agreed to the extra expense.

You can expect to be charged a fixed fee to have your barrister represent you in court.

If we do not give you an exact price your barrister will put in writing all of the hours that he / she has worked. These hours will be on the invoice or fee note that is sent to you.

20 Jul, 2021

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