Legal Aid


John accepts instructions in publicly funded civil cases in his practice areas.

Private Fees

John’s private client fees tend to be lower than those charged by barristers of a similar Year of Call to John who are members of larger chambers, because John does not have high practice overheads to meet.

John charges preparatory work for Opinions, written Advice, and pleadings at £120.00 per hour plus VAT, but is happy to consider other rates where appropriate.

Fees for hearings that last for 1 day or less are negotiated on an individual basis, because there is a huge variety in such hearings in terms of preparation and complexity. Generally the range of fees for such cases will be between £400 and £1800 plus VAT.

Cases lasting 2 days will generally be charged at a Brief Fee of £1500 plus a Refresher of £800 plus VAT, unless the case is more unusually complex or requires a great deal of “front-end” preparation, in which case fees will be negotiated individually and may involve a larger Brief Fee with no Refresher.

Fees for cases lasting 3 days or more are negotiated individually.

Brief Fees will usually include any initial skeleton argument and case summary (where necessary) unless otherwise agreed, but not chronologies or subsequent skeleton arguments, which will be charged separately.

Fees for Appeals at all levels are negotiated individually.

John operates a strict policy with regard to private client fees. All private client fees are charged on a contractual basis, the terms of which are in writing. Privately paying lay clients are required to sign a simple written contract which sets out the terms on which their fees are paid and are recoverable by John. Solicitors are required to sign a short statement verifying the contract between Counsel and the lay client. The solicitor remains the usual medium through which John’s fees are recoverable in the traditional way. The contract simply provides a means whereby John is able to recover fees himself where the efforts of the solicitor have proved ineffective.

In addition, if private fees remain unpaid for more than 3 months with no acceptable explanation, John reserves the right to cease all work on the case regardless of the stage at which the case has reached and regardless of the consequences for the client. No further work is undertaken on that case until the fees are paid in full or an acceptable explanation is provided. Appropriate written warnings are given well in advance of this step being taken.

All of these matters are provided for in the written contract, a copy of which can be downloaded in Word Format or as a PDF from this website. The terms of the contract are simple and straightforward.

Private Fee Agreement (Lay Client)
Private Fee Agreement (Solicitor)

It should be noted that under section 61 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1999, the old common law “honorarium” rule for Counsel’s fees was abolished. Under this rule, a barrister’s fee was regarded as an “honorarium” or professional gift, and as such was not legally recoverable by the barrister either from the lay client or from the instructing solicitor. Amazingly this meant that a barrister had no legal right to recover his/her fees. The abolition of this somewhat ridiculous rule, that was imported into English Law from Roman Law in the early nineteenth century (see for example Re: Le Brasseur & Oakley (1896) 2 Ch 487 and Wells v Wells [1914] P 157), now means that as a matter of current English Law, a barrister's fees are contractual just like the fees charged by any other professional person, such as an accountant or solicitor or architect. The Bar Council now permits all barristers to charge their private fees on any basis that is permissible in English Law. All barristers are now in law permitted to charge their private fees on a contractual basis and to enter into contracts directly with their lay clients for the payment of private fees. This approach was expressly recognised and accepted by the Privy Council in the recent case of Husbands v Warefact Limited [2003] UKPC 23 [2003] All ER (D) 291 (a case concerning the fees of a Queen’s Counsel payable on a contractual basis and for which the QC successfully sued). John has adopted this approach for ALL privately paying lay clients.

Click here to read a recent article in "The Lawyer" magazine about Barristers now entering into private fee contracts to recover their fees.

Conditional Fees

John is happy to consider accepting instructions to fund his involvement in a case on a Conditional Fee Agreement, where appropriate. He has successfully represented a number of clients on a CFA, both “Uplift CFAs” and “No Win No Fee CFAs.”

CFA cases are now regulated only under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1999. The regulatory scheme is now reduced to a bare minimum, but John undertakes CFA cases through a full Conditional Fee Agreement in writing, signed by the lay client and the instructing solicitor.

Contingency Fees

In 2009 Lord Justice Jackson (A judge of the Court of Appeal) was given the task of reviewing the cost of civil litigation in England and Wales and the ways in which civil litigation is funded. His Report has now been published (the Jackson Report 2010). In his Report, Lord Justice Jackson has recommended an end to conditional fee agreements in some cases, and a change in the law to allow the use of contingency fees as in the USA. A contingency fee is in effect an agreement where the lawyer takes a percentage share of whatever damages a litigant recovers from his/her litigation. This is a new and surprising development for English lawyers, who have always been forbidden by law from entering into contingency fee agreements. Even more surprisingly, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and most of the remaining senior judiciary have agreed with the recommendations of the Jackson Report. This would seem to be a significant change of view by the English judges. There are reported cases (not very long ago) in which previous senior judges had condemned the whole contingency fee system as abusive and dangerous. It is very early days yet, but it seems that there is a good chance that solicitors and barristers will be acting on a contingency fee basis in the foreseeable future in some cases.

Click here to read a summary of the main points of the Jackson Report on Costs 2010 (10 pages).

Click here to read the full Jackson Report 2010 (584 pages)