9 King's Bench Walk Client Care Policy
We seek to provide a high quality standard of service to all our clients in compliance with the Bar Council’s Code of Conduct and Practice Management Guidelines.
Our aim, at all times is to ensure that the needs, concerns and interests of our clients are kept constantly in view and, where necessary, are addressed.
Our client care policy sets out below Chambers procedures and the services which we provide to our clients and we would ask that you keep this policy on record and to contact our Senior Clerk should you have any questions concerning the services provided by Chambers.
Initial Instructions to Counsel
Clients may initially wish to telephone Chambers clerks to discuss suitable Counsel, Counsel’s availability and the estimated fees for a case, before sending formal instructions to Chambers.
On doing so the clerks will be able to discuss these matters and answer any other questions you may have prior to instructing Counsel in a particular case. Thereafter, on receipt of formal instructions to act, a client care letter acknowledging receipt of those instructions as well as setting out details of any agreed timescales, terms of work and any fees which have either been agreed or estimated will be sent to you.
The instructions will, wherever possible, be given to Counsel on the same day or within 24 hours of receipt.
Potential Conflicts of Interest
Any possible conflict of interest will be immediately referred to the Senior Clerk who will telephone the client to discuss whether Counsel may continue to be instructed or whether alternative Counsel must be found. This will usually be within Chambers or occasionally the nature of the conflict may require that the brief be returned to other Chambers. In those circumstances we will do all that we can to assist in finding suitable alternative Counsel.
Chambers are often instructed to act for both sides in a case and have internal procedures for ensuring that, where necessary, separate clerking is arranged and papers are held in secure storage.
Should you have any concern as to a possible conflict, please do not hesitate to contact the Senior Clerk who will discuss with you the possible solutions.
Confidentiality – our systems
9 KBW uses Iris Legal Meridian Law Hosted software http://www.irislegal.co.uk which provides a secure internet system, a cutting edge diary and fees management programme and ensures off site back up and protection of all client data.
We also have secure storage facilities for all sensitive material such as DVD’s photographic material or original copies of documents. Our members know and fully comply with all guidelines requiring the protection of client material both in and out of Chambers. if there is any particular confidentiality issue that you would wish to discuss please do not hesitate to contact the Senior Clerk or any member our Management Committee..
Members who prosecute have all registered for CJSM providing for the secure transmission of all data
Completion of Time Records
Counsel will keep a record of all work done and the time taken, which can be supplied to the client at any time during or after the proceedings. Supporting information as to the nature of the work done will also be recorded and communicated to the client. This can be used where necessary to support a claim for fees on a costs assessment or determination, or similarly to enable a successful litigant to recover their costs from the opposing party. A record of all work undertaken, for which fees are to be charged, will be entered into Chambers computerised records from which a fee note or payment receipt can be generated at any time throughout the proceedings.
Change of Counsel During Proceedings
When you initially contact chambers to book counsel we will advise you as to counsel’s availability and advise you of any pre-existing commitments. Should you wish to double book your preferred counsel with a view to reassessing the situation as the hearing date approaches we will keep you fully informed as to likely availability.
In a small number of cases, where nominated Counsel may be unable to attend Court on a particular date, we will inform you at the earliest opportunity. Thereafter we will take all necessary steps to recommend alternative and acceptable Counsel for your client from within Chambers. In the unlikely event that acceptable cover cannot be provided within chambers we will assist in finding counsel in other Chambers for you.
Basis of Fees
An estimate of costs will be provided in advance of undertaking any work, unless fixed fees are already in place. If it is not possible to estimate the final figure that will be charged for a specific item of work, an indication will be given as to the basis on which the fee will be calculated e.g. an hourly rate or a budget agreed which will not be exceeded without further discussion with the client.
Any estimate may need to be reviewed upon receipt of the papers.
Following receipt of the papers the basis upon which Counsel is engaged will be clearly set out in the initial client care letter. For example, we will stipulate whether the case is being accepted on a contractual or on a non-contractual basis, under Licensed Access, Public Access, Conditional Fee Arrangement (contractual or non-contractual) or on the basis of a publicly funded certificate.
If the case is accepted on a conditional fee basis, Terms of Engagement must be signed by both Counsel and the Instructing Solicitors before any work is undertaken.
Where work is undertaken in the normal way, new clients will be sent a copy of the Terms of Work on which barristers offer their services to Solicitors and the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme 1988.
Where Counsel is instructed under a publicly funded certificate we will require a copy of the certificate or in the case of unassigned criminal magistrates work, the Unique File Number as Counsel are now obliged to ensure that his/her work is covered by the terms of a certificate.
In cases where a brief fee and/or refreshers are estimated, not agreed, the fee will include a rough estimate of preparation time, conferences, days in court, the involvement of other counsel and so on.
For other work such as written advices, opinions, views of a locus etc an hourly charging rate can be agreed where it is not possible to provide a fixed time estimate in advance of the work being undertaken.
Equal Opportunities Policy
We at 9 King’s Bench Walk are committed to promoting equal opportunities. We value diversity and encourage equality of opportunity for all people and actively promote good relations. Thus, we do not discriminate on the basis of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, religion or political persuasion.
We will adhere to the Bar Standards Equality and Diversity Code, compliant with the Bar Code of Conduct We will comply with all legislation dealing with discrimination and the promotion of equality following the codes of practice issued to support this legislation.
We will ensure that all employment policies, procedures and guidelines reflect our commitment to equality. Our policy will apply to every aspect of life within chambers including Chambers as an employer of staff, provider of services to the public, selection of pupils, recruitment of new tenants, relationships between members and engagement and treatment of third parties communicating with and visiting chambers.
We will ensure procedures are in place for responding to complaints of discrimination and harassment from clients’ members and staff. Chambers will make reasonable adjustments to employment arrangements or to physical features of the premises to ensure that those who suffer from a disability are not unjustifiably disadvantaged in comparison with persons who are not disabled. We will provide copies of our Equal Opportunities policy to all members of chambers and members of staff and will supply our policy to any client on request.
Chambers Personnel, Facilities and Contact Details
Chambers seeks to be highly diverse in the areas of law that we cover the experience of our members and the clients that we serve. We are multi-cultural and have the benefit of several members who are fluent in nine different languages.
Our Senior Clerk is Christine Eadie, the First Junior Clerk, Gary Wright and the Second Junior Clerk, George Bennett. Each of the Clerks will be pleased to deal with your enquiry at any time.
Our Administrator, Martin Hughes, can assist with information on forthcoming Chambers seminars and events and any enquiries regarding Chambers suppliers.
More extensive details as to the specialities of our Members and the experience of our clerking team can be found within Chambers website.
Chambers Complaints Procedure
Full details of our complaints procedure are available on the website and details of our client care policy and the complaints procedure will be communicated to each lay client at the first available opportunity.
The clerk’s room in Chambers is open from 8.45am to 6.15pm Monday to Friday.
If your enquiry is urgent outside of normal business hours, a telephone call to Chambers number, 020 7353 9564, 020 7353 9564, will be diverted to Gary Wright or you may contact himon the following mobile telephone number 07940491479.
Should you require Counsel to attend Court during a weekend period, we will provide assistance whenever possible.
We welcome instructions by e-mail to email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 020 7353 9564 and we have scanning facilities.
We have a designated conference room as well as television, video, audio and DVD facilities.
If Solicitors require conferences at their offices or some other suitable venue, Counsel will be happy to attend.