Policies

Objectives
Chambers’ Principal Objectives are:

  • To provide an excellent legal service to its clients.
  • To be professional, competent and sympathetic in its dealings with all clients.
  • To pursue its clients’ interests vigorously.
  • To maintain BARMARK / IIP / Quality Mark status, reflecting the importance Chambers places on the service it provides.

Quality Management
Members of Chambers comply with the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England & Wales and operate according to Chambers’ policies and procedures as defined in our BARMARK Manual. This has been developed to ensure compliance with the Bar Council’s Practice Management Standards and with the requirements of ‘BARMARK’.  Related policies of interest to clients such as our Quality, Fire Health & Safety and Equality Policy are available on request. All members of the family team are members of the Family Law Bar Association.

Equal Opportunities
Chambers is committed to equality of opportunity and to compliance with the Bar Council’s Equality Code.  All persons coming into contact with Chambers are treated on merit and are not discriminated against on the grounds of their age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status, and disability, religious or political persuasion.  Whilst Chambers has wheelchair access, for the convenience of clients, members and their clerks are available to make visits to the client’s premises.  If this does not provide a solution to any access difficulties please let us know and we will find an alternative venue for meeting.

Equality & Diversity Information
The responses to the Equality & Diversity Survey of Chambers are set out at the foot of this page – please scroll down.

An excel spreadsheet containing this information about Members of Chambers (as at 31.1.13) can be downloaded here

Client Confidentiality
Briefs received into Chambers are only handled by the clerks and the barristers assigned to individual cases, sensitive items are held in a safe to which access can be gained only by the clerks.  Faxes and emails are received by the clerks in the clerks’ room and are only made available to Counsel involved in the case.

Instructing Counsel: Standard Contractual Terms
With effect from 31 January 2013 Chambers has adopted the Bar Council’s Standard Contractual Terms to govern its business relationship with instructing solicitors in privately funded cases.

The standard terms can be found here (in pdf format)
More information about the standard terms is set out on the Bar Council’s website.

Booking Counsel
When you contact 4 Brick Court to book Counsel, you will be advised if the barrister of your choice has an existing commitment and whether you wish to use an alternative Counsel. The size of Chambers, having some thirty plus Members specialising in family work and a smaller team dedicated to Criminal and Civil work, means that we can provide a breadth of expertise in each of our specialist areas.  The issue of continuity is important to all, and Counsel will not be changed after they have been booked, unless this is unavoidable and agreed with the client.

Direct Access
Barristers can now be instructed directly by members of the public. However there are still some restrictions in the type and methods of work that can be done on this basis. Not all barristers in 4 Brick Court accept work directly from members of the public.  If a member of the public wishes to progress this further, they should contact the Managing Clerk.

Briefs
It is vital to the smooth and effective handling of a case that we have sufficient time to prepare for court appearances. Many cases now require skeleton arguments to be lodged in advance of the hearing so it is therefore essential that instructions are sent giving ample time for preparation.  On our part, we shall ensure that we arrive at court at least half an hour before the scheduled start time to allow time for discussion with yourself and your client.  All papers will be read and all necessary trial documentation, including skeleton arguments, case summaries and chronologies will be prepared.  At the conclusion of the hearing, clients will be provided with an attendance note recording the terms of any orders made, negotiations conducted or concluded, within 24 hours of the court appearance.

Disaster Planning
Chambers has a plan which identifies the geographic and climatic hazards and other risks that could jeopardise operating from our building.  Risk assessment on a regular basis establishes a proper course of action, identifying resources to be used in the event of any disruption.
There are three important aspects of the plan set up by 4Brick Court.

They are:

  • Comprehensiveness
  • Simplicity
  • Flexibility

The plan recognises that there will be some disruption to normal services, especially if power, water, and telephony and diary management services are affected.  The plan distinguishes between minor disruptions and major incidents.  Clients will be kept informed of any changes in procedure affecting them as a result of having to implement any aspect of our disaster plan.

Corporate Social Responsibility
4 Brick Court follows the guidelines set by the Bar Council in that we are making changes in the manner we operate to reflect a more socially responsible attitude to the way in which we live and work.  We see social responsibility as the voluntary actions that we can take over and above compliance with minimum legal requirements.  It is about how as a business we take account of the economic, social and environmental aspects of the way we operate- maximising the benefits and minimising the downsides.

Fees
All time spent is recorded on the Meridian System to ensure that the fees charged can be substantiated by specific work activities by the barrister. If requested, the Clerks will be able to explain how the fee was determined.

  • We will render a fee note for our work upon conclusion of the case or on request or at an appropriate stage in ongoing litigation.
  • In privately funded cases, we expect our fees to be settled within the time limits prescribed by the Bar Council.
  • We adhere to the Bar Council’s Code of Practice in respect of issue of payment reminders, progressing payment of our fees and credit control in general.
  •  No member of the Bar without the consent of the Chairman of the Bar can accept instructions in a privately funded case from any solicitors firm listed under the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme.  An exception to this is if the instructions are accompanied by payment of an agreed fee for such work.

Complaints & Compliments
We aim to provide a quality service that conforms to the Practice Management Standards of the Bar Council. To achieve these standards, we rely on feedback from our clients. All comments taken are appreciated; they are recorded and complaints  are thoroughly investigated. We ask clients to address any feedback to our Managing Clerk (Clive Barrett) by telephone or preferably by letter. We also have a fully documented complaints procedure, the responsibility for which lies with our Practice Manager. The complaints procedure can be accessed via the footnote link on this page and our home page.

How to Contact Us
We can be contacted by several means including:
Telephone: 020 7832 3200
Fax: 0207 797 8929
Out of Hours contact number available on request
Emailclerks@4bc.co.uk

Post: 4 Brick Court, Temple, London EC4Y 9AD DX: 491 LDE
Office Hours: 8.30am to 6.30pm  After 6.30pm in the event of an emergency you can contact the Managing Clerk on the Chambers mobile telephone or otherwise, you can leave messages on the out of hour’s answering service. Our support staff will respond to your messages the next morning.