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Frequently asked questions

Find below answers to Frequently Asked Questions

A barrister is an independent specialist advocate and advisor in law. Their highly competitive training, together with their specialist knowledge and experience, can make a substantial difference to the outcome of a case. 

A barrister is expected to possess a high degree of skill and learning, integrity and honesty, independence, diligence and experience. 

Barristers are best known for their expertise in frontline advocacy before the Courts. However, they bring added value in many more areas than this. 

Barristers have an intimate knowledge of the courts, are true specialists in advocacy, have the ability to quickly identify the crucial points of a case, are highly skilled in litigation strategy and tactics, direct the most appropriate case management, being best placed to provide highly valuable advice and opinion work.

A barrister has the training and experience to anticipate the range of likely outcomes and to work with you to choose the most appropriate path, so it is helpful to involve them at the outset. 

A barrister’s advice can help to clarify the management of the entire process, and empower clients to make informed decisions. Early advice can often save our clients additional cost and worry, helping them make the right decisions. 

Barristers can provide the most effective representation and advocacy if your case proceeds to trial. 

A limited number of barristers ‘take silk’ - becoming King’s Counsel  – as a mark of outstanding ability.  They are also colloquially known as ‘silks’. This is because their robes include a gown made of silk – junior counsel wear gowns made of cotton. 

KCs are recognised for excellence in courtroom advocacy and as leaders in their legal field. Whilst equipped to deal with the most complex cases, they are not restricted in doing so. You can derive great advantages from the skills and expertise of a KC driving the most cost-effective, efficient and timely resolution of your problem. This benefits the client by avoiding protracted open ended work conducted at excessive hourly rates. 

Nexus KCs cut through issues to focus on the end goal and are user-friendly in approach.      

Historically, barristers were specialists in law and court practice and solicitors were litigation managers, instructing a barrister for advice about the law or court advocacy. A barrister provides expert advocacy at court or a tribunal, as well as specialist advice, whereas a solicitor typically assists in preparatory tasks for the court or tribunal. However, that distinction is becoming narrower and less defined. In recent years, solicitors are doing more advocacy and barristers are increasingly offering direct access services, where members of the public can go straight to them without using a solicitor. 

Another important distinction between solicitors and barristers is the way they generally tend to charge. Most solicitors tend to charge on a time-spent basis using a rate per-hour, despite the availability of some fixed-price arrangements. It is much more common for barristers to charge a set price for a piece of work, whether this is a piece of written advice, a conference or representation at a court hearing, although more rarely some barristers will need to work on a per-hour rate. 

You will get excellent advice and/or court representation at a price that works for your personal circumstances. Nexus barristers draw on their years of training and experience to find the right way to get you the best possible outcome and present your case to the judge if it goes to court.

Using a Barrister Direct without litigation support means that you are technically a litigant-in-person before the court, and that the court papers and correspondence will be sent to you rather than to a legal advisor. This will require you to take on the administration yourself (with the barrister’s guidance).

If you would prefer someone else to handle the administration of the case, you have the option of working with a barrister as authorised litigator and advocate combined, a barrister as authorised litigator working with another barrister as the advocate or full representation by a barrister working with a solicitor (the most expensive option).

Litigation is the process of taking legal action to resolve a dispute through a court of law. Litigation support in basic terms involves carrying out the formal steps in the litigation (such as issuing proceedings or filing documents with the court).  Historically, only solicitors were allowed to conduct litigation but the rules have changed.

Barristers are now able to conduct litigation if they have been authorised to do so. This means that a lay client (not a solicitor) may:

(i)  act as ‘litigant in person’ with a direct access barrister as their advocate;

(ii) instruct a barrister to act as their authorised litigator and advocate;

(iii) instruct an authorised junior barrister as a litigator to work with a more senior barrister as the advocate;

(iv) instruct a solicitor and barrister in cases which require representation by both.

If your case is very complicated and involves a high volume of electronic data (or paperwork) management and extensive evidence from various witnesses and/or taking opinions from a number of experts, it may be more sensible for you to instruct a solicitor to do this on your behalf. If barristers are unable to supply enhanced administrative support due to the scale of resource intensive exercises, they will advise you accordingly.

You must follow the steps below for our administrators to be able to process your enquiry. Our administrators are not legally qualified and are not permitted to give legal advice. They will always do their best to help you, but can only do so if you have completed the information required to action your enquiry. Although we would like to help everyone, we can only take on those cases that are appropriate and suitable for us to do so.

Our administrators will only be able to respond if you:

  1. Complete the Nexus Barrister Direct enquiry form on the Barrister Direct website page;
  2. Use the FAQs to help guide you through the process;
  3. If Barrister Direct can help you with your case, your barrister will consider the information provided and whether they need to know more by way of documents or a meeting (there may be a charge for this) to assess the appropriate fee for the work involved;
  4. You will receive a client care letter setting out the work, fees and terms of the agreement between you and your barrister. It is important to read and understand this as, once signed, this will form a contract between you and your barrister. Once the contract and fee has been received the work will start.

This is how we help you decide whether direct access to a barrister is the right approach for you, and if the barrister you want to instruct is available; or whether we can suggest a suitable alternative.

Unfortunately, Legal Aid will not pay for direct access to a Barrister and so legal aid clients must instruct a solicitor before they can access the services of a barrister.

We are only permitted to accept Public Access instructions on a privately funded basis.

If you think you may be eligible for Legal Aid, then you may wish to visit the Ministry of Justice website, which offers a Legal Aid Eligibility Calculator; you can access this here  A solicitor can provide you with advice on whether or not you are eligible for Legal Aid, and we will be pleased to offer suggestions on suitable advisors.

Even if you are eligible for Legal Aid, you can still choose if you prefer to instruct a barrister privately, using your own funds, under Public Access.  Sometimes contributions that you are required to make and pay towards your legal aid funding for a solicitor as well as a barrister are higher than paying privately for one barrister that you choose to represent you.  However, you will only recover defence costs (capped at legal aid rates) if you have applied and been refused legal aid funding. Please see our fee transparency terms on the costs of instructing one of our barristers privately.

We are always happy to accept Legal Aid cases on instructions from a solicitor.  On occasion we have provided initial advice under Public Access, but because of complexity or other reasons, a need has arisen for a solicitor to be instructed; we have undertaken further work on such cases, funded by Legal Aid, after those solicitors assisted clients in making a successful application.

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept public access instructions on a ‘no win, no fee’ (conditional fee) basis.

Fees for the work you want to be undertaken are agreed in advance in a contract  between yourself and your barrister. This means both you and your barrister have matters clearly and transparently set out to protect both parties and avoid misunderstandings. Our policy is to take payment in advance of your barrister undertaking any work. We accept funds by bank transfer or by credit/debit card.

The cost of instructing a barrister at Nexus will depend on the complexity of your case; the seniority of counsel; the amount and urgency of work involved; the type of hearing; and the amount of papers you have, as this affects the reading time and level of preparation required. Your barrister will need to be fully appraised of all the relevant facts in order to present the case in the most effective way.

The quote provided will either be on a fixed fee or hourly rate (brief fee/refresher) basis, subject to what is most appropriate for the case and most cost-effective. A reasonable quote will be provided, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, estimating the preparation time and hearing time required for your case. The current rate of VAT will be added to all fees.

We like to be as open and upfront about our fees as possible, but unfortunately it is impossible to give guidelines for costs on all types of case, as every case and client is unique. Our price range is between £100 and £750 per hour plus VAT, which is charged at 20% in all cases.

The fees are agreed and received before the work is done. You retain control of what you spend and your barrister concentrates on getting the job done.

To help your case and save on fees here are some top tips:

  • Get organised. It is so important to have your data or documents in order for your barrister.
  • Try to focus on the relevant points in your case to help achieve the outcome you want. Be as specific and concise as possible. This will put your barrister in the best position to analyse the material and advise you on different possibilities and strategies.
  • Make sure that your barrister has all of the information he or she needs to be in a position to advise you or present your case to the court. A nasty unexpected surprise in court can often defeat a case.
  • All deadlines must be met within a court process. If you do not have litigation support this is your responsibility.

The better organised your papers are, the easier it will be for your barrister direct to draw together the critical elements of your case, advise you on it and present it to the court.

You will need to send a bundle of papers to your barrister by agreement, in A4 folders or scanned and by email, arranged in date order from the earliest to the latest in each section:

  • Applications to the court and orders made by the court
  • Statements and supporting documents (known as exhibits) filed at court
  • Other documents filed with the court
  • Correspondence with the other side
  • Anything else you consider relevant.

You should prepare a summary document to insert at the start of the bundle with:

  • Names of the parties, the court, the case number allocated to your case by the court
  • A brief and concise summary of your case
  • A list of the most important points as you see them and
  • Any specific questions you would like the barrister to advise you on.

Pointers for writing correspondence and completing court forms:

  • Always set out information in an organised and chronological way
  • Stick to basic essential facts
  • Be concise and keep it relevant
  • Break up paragraphs by using bullet points and numbering
  • Try to keep calm, and remember it’s important to answer the question being asked

All work is regulated by a contract between you and the barrister. The barrister is unable to provide you with any legal advice or services until the signed Client Care Letter and fee has been received.

Your barrister can only undertake the work included in the Client Care Letter but not outside the scope of the signed letter.

You will need another Client Care Letter for any extra work so please make sure you have read and understand what you are signing.

Forewarned is forearmed just like your case!

We want every case to have the best possible outcome and strive to ensure each and every client has the best representation.

However, if you want to complain you will find details of how to complain in your Client Care Letter. Alternatively, the Chambers Complaints procedure and details of the Legal Ombudsman can be found here