In this section you can find answers to some frequently asked questions. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please email the Practice Management Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Emailing documents to Garden Court North Chambers
I would like to instruct a barrister at Garden Court North Chambers. Can I send the papers by email?
Garden Court North Chambers is happy to receive briefs, court papers, trial bundles and other documents by email.
Emailing documents to Chambers has several advantages (including speed, and avoiding the costs of printing and physical delivery), but can have one particular disadvantage. When documents are physically delivered to Chambers they are in a certain order, but unfortunately that order can be lost when they are emailed – which can cause all sorts of problems.
In order to minimise this disadvantage, Chambers would be grateful if emailed documents could be sent in the following way:
- Please sort the papers into the order by which you wish them to be read/the order in the trial bundle. Where possible, please provide an index to the papers and number them;
- Rather than send individual documents as attachments, please send the ordered papers in as few as possible attachments (eg, an attachment containing the first hundred pages, an attachment containing the second hundred pages and so on);
- Where possible, please name the attachment using the client’s name and a number indicating the order in which the attachments should be read (eg, John Smith 1, John Smith 2 and so on); and
- Where possible, please send the attachments as PDFs (note, Word documents can be easily saved as PDFs by changing the format in the ‘Save As’ option in Word).
- Instructing a barrister
How do I instruct a barrister?
The usual route to a barrister is through a solicitor and you should discuss with your solicitor whether it is important to have a barrister’s involvement in your case. Should you wish to instruct a barrister from Garden Court North Chambers your solicitor can contact our Practice Management Team and make the necessary arrangements.
Whilst all the barristers at Chambers accept instructions from solicitors, it is now possible, in certain circumstances, for those who have received the appropriate training to accept instructions directly from members of the public. This is known as Public Access. To find out more about Public Access, click here.
- The Legal Aid Agency’s Client and Cost Management System (CCMS)
Can you offer any tips and guidance for using CCMS?
Garden Court North Chambers was involved, in 2014, in the original CCMS pilot. As a consequence, our Practice Management Team – especially our Fees Manager, Alison Lillico – have been working with this system for some time and can provide the following tips and guidance.
At the beginning of the case:
- Ensure counsel has been allocated to the funding certificate from the outset. When multiple counsel are working on a case, all counsel involved need to be allocated individually;
- Assign a cost limit against the certificate for each individual counsel involved in the case to equate to work pending / work done to date. Do not leave the cost limit as zero as this will affect any interim payments payable to counsel before conclusion of a case; and
- Please provide the funding certificate to Chambers as soon as it is received. In the event a paper copy is not available please provide Chambers with the certificate reference number in order for us to search the CCMS system and confirm counsel are allocated to the case and a sufficient cost limit has been applied.
- The cost limit will need to be amended as and when further work is carried out. Please contact Chambers for an estimate of counsel’s costs for any pending work. For the majority of cases counsel will be claiming an enhancement to their fees. It is therefore imperative that a fee estimate is obtained from Chambers in advance of applying for further funds for a case;
- Inform Chambers when the final bill has been submitted via CCMS in order for Chambers to then claim counsel’s element of costs;
- A failure to send counsel’s claim within two weeks of the solicitor’s bill being submitted will result in the solicitor’s bill being rejected by the LAA; and
- Do not claim counsel’s costs within the solicitors element of the bill – Chambers will always claim on behalf of counsel.
A couple of issues to be aware of:
- Chambers has been made aware that providers are being advised that they do not need to allocate a cost amount to counsel on allocation of a certificate and that allocation can wait until conclusion of the case and preparation of the final bill. Although this may be possible, it would be severely detrimental to counsel. A cost amount is required from the outset in order for counsel to claim interim payments during the life time of the case; and
- Notifications are not always received to advise counsel / Chambers the final bill has been submitted by the instructing solicitor. A failure to send counsel’s claim within two weeks of the solicitor’s bill being submitted will result in the solicitor’s bill being rejected by the LAA. Please ensure you inform Chambers directly that you have submitted your claims on CCMS.