The barristers and the practice management team at Unit Chambers are committed to excellence in all aspects of the service they provide. We aim to deliver value for all our clients and welcome feedback on any aspect of the service we provide.
The barristers at Unit Chambers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board. We are dedicated to providing a high level of service across all of our practice areas. We provide legal services, including advocacy and advice, as well as training, across England and Wales and to clients internationally where appropriate. See here.
Our clients include law firms, individuals, local authorities and government agencies.
Our service standards apply in all cases regardless of the way work is funded.
Our Practice Management Principles
The practices of the Unit Chambers members are administered by our practice management team led by Eve Humphries. The team should be the first point of contact for enquiries about any particular barrister.
The core practice management principles are honesty, openness, accessibility and flexibility. Unit Chambers members and staff aim to act in accordance with and promote chambers’ core values.
The barristers at Unit Chambers work under the standard terms provided by the Bar Council of England & Wales, known fully as The Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012 [updated for the GDPR 2018] , a full copy of which can be downloaded from our website here.
In some cases, it is also possible for members of the public to instruct our barristers directly through the Public Access scheme, without having to consult a solicitor first. Please click here to read a more complete description of the scheme, and to see whether your case may be suitable.
The Practice Management team adopt a transparent approach to fee negotiation and welcome discussions on a case by case basis. They can be contacted to provide estimated fees, and generally will quote on either an hourly rate or fixed fee (brief fee/ refresher) basis, subject to what is most appropriate for the case and cost effective for the client. Fees will be calculated by reference to the amount of time reasonably required to supply the services and a reasonable hourly rate, taking into account all the circumstances of the case. The Practice Management team will be able to provide you with information on what specifically is required in order to prepare a meaningful estimate, and will provide one within 5 working days.
Hourly rates may vary according to the seniority and experience of counsel, the complexity and urgency of the case. Where we provide a fixed price for a piece of work we will seek not to exceed the amount we have quoted without prior client authority.
Our fees are flexible and competitive, while reflecting our high standard of advice and service. The current rate of VAT will be added to all fees (unless exemptions apply). We will always advise on suitable counsel and provide a more accurate and flexible assessment of the fees for your case.
On the acceptance of instructions counsel will review the case to assess the amount of papers to be reviewed, the complexity of the case, the need for additional information or documents and the approach being taken by the other side.
The return date for completed work will then be subject to the upcoming availability of counsel, the client(s), relevant third parties and where appropriate the next suitable date for any court hearings.
Our Practice Managers will keep clients updated regarding expected timescales, including changes in circumstances which are outside of Chambers control.
We are happy to discuss with clients how they would like to be billed at the outset of a case. We will issue invoices or fee notes promptly and in any event within one month of a hearing or of the work being undertaken. Our payment terms are that invoices should be paid within 30 days of the date from which they are rendered. Where an invoice is outstanding for more than 30 days interest may be charged on the outstanding fee in accordance with the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 and the barrister reserves the right not to undertake any further work on the matter until the fees are paid.
Working with Unit Chambers
All instructions received within working hours will be acknowledged and forwarded to counsel on the day of receipt. Our preference is to receive all instructions by email. Occasionally it is not practical to send large files by email, in which case we are happy to provide a secure internet portal for files to be uploaded. Please contact us if you require further information about this service.
Where written advice (or similar) is required, the work will be completed within 21 days of receipt unless otherwise specified and agreed by the parties (provided that the relevant Practice Manager has confirmed, before the instructions are sent, that the barrister in question is able to receive the instructions).
Instructing clients wishing to send new instructions to members of Unit Chambers are asked to contact our relevant Practice Managers first, if at all possible, in order to ensure that the barrister in question is able to deal with the instructions in the required timescale.
We aim to acknowledge messages from clients within one working day of their receipt.
All messages will be forwarded to counsel on the day they are received. All incoming faxes and emails are logged and electronically archived. Every effort will be taken to ensure that urgent messages are put before counsel immediately.
Information Barriers Within Chambers
It is possible and permissible for all barristers, who are self-employed, to be instructed on opposite sides of a case. We have a protocol for dealing with this situation which ensures conflicts do not arise and confidentiality is ensured. This is known as our Sensitive, Confidential & Conflict Case Handling Policy. For example, information barriers are put in place on our case management system and access is restricted to designated staff who will deal with the different instructing clients.
Unit Chambers is always striving to develop new ways of delivering legal services in collaboration with other providers and we are open to developing different ways of providing our services on a client or case-by-case basis.
At the end of a case, it will now be the default for papers to be destroyed using our confidential waste contractor, rather than returned to solicitors. If you would like Unit Chambers to return the papers, this will be done on request.
Feedback and Complaints
Unit Chambers is committed to continuous improvement in all its areas of service. We welcome feedback on any aspect of our service and will actively seek out feedback from clients. If any aspect of our service falls short of expectations, we would like to know about it and do our utmost to resolve any issue.
Any formal complaints should be addressed to the Risk & Compliance Advisor. Details of our complaint’s procedures are available on request and from our website here.
Lay clients have a right to complain directly to Unit Chambers without going through solicitors and a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman here. Our Client Information Leaflet contains important information about this, and we would ask that solicitors provide this to the lay client when instructing a barrister at Unit Chambers and that you confirm to us this has been done. If this is not possible, please provide us with the lay client’s contact details so we can write to them directly.
If you make a complaint and you are dissatisfied with the outcome and / or your complaint has not been dealt with in eight weeks, you have a right to refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
Data Protection and Privacy
Unit Chambers hosts a variety of marketing events and events to assist in the continuing professional development of lawyers and other professionals. We may contact you from time to time (by email, post, or SMS) to keep you informed of events that may be of interest to you. The option to unsubscribe from our mailing system is available on all these communications, or you can email as on [email protected].