We always aim to respond to the needs of our Instructing Solicitors and close liaison is maintained whenever possible. We therefore pay particular attention to the following:
You get who you ask for
Briefs will only be returned where it is absolutely unavoidable. Where this is the case, you will be notified by the clerks of all the alternative and suitable barristers who are available. Only with your consent will the brief be passed on. If it is not possible to obtain that consent in time and necessity renders it unavoidable, the brief will be passed to another barrister.
Conference facilities are available at Chambers, subject to reservation.
In addition, Central Chambers has been offering virtual conferences for many years – long before the Covid-19 pandemic. As such we are equipped to offer Google Meet and MS Teams links for meetings. We can arrange telephone conferencing, Whatsapp conferencing, and other platforms with a little notice.
We can come to you
Where necessary, members of Chambers will attend solicitors’ offices for conferences, in particular where clients have mobility difficulties – though our offices are accessible.
We do ask that any conferences at solicitors’ offices are attended by a solicitor or paralegal with case ownership. In addition, we ask that lay clients are contacted well in advance of the time when counsel is likely to be travelling to the meeting. This is to avoid wasted time but also because we should all be reducing the number of unnecessary journeys due to climate change.
Following the hearing
Our barristers ensure instructing solicitors have a detailed report of the outcome of trials and hearings as soon as is feasible. Advice will be given, if necessary or requested, on possible grounds of appeal. Counsel will usually provide a “to-do” list for the litigator, where appropriate.
Where counsel is short on time between hearings/meetings, Instructing Solicitors will receive a call or secure message to advise as to the effect of the hearing and any urgent steps to be taken.
Chambers will provide the mobile phone numbers of any member of Chambers if requested, with the agreement of the barrister. The clerking team is available seven days a week for discussion regarding cases and advice, during daytimes and early evenings.
Seminars and Briefings
Many Central Chambers members have highly specialised areas of practice. Briefings can be provided on specific areas of law free of charge; more detailed seminars sometimes carry a charge. Please contact the Head of Crime or Head or Head of Family to arrange such seminars.
In appropriate and deserving cases, advice and all representations can be provided free. Application should normally be made to the Senior Clerk.
LGBTQIA+ Law Clinic
This service is accessed initially via the website. If the relevant practitioners are prepared to assist, no retainer or contract is created. The initial consultations/requests for further information/signposting assistance is provided free of charge. Next steps – including taking-on of matters as Direct Access cases – will be discussed in consultation.
The first meeting with counsel for the Clinic will be undertaken online unless otherwise specified. Failure to complete the online request form may result in the request for assistance being discarded.
Please note that Legal Aid may be available for the work you/your lay client wishes our counsel to undertake. That includes accessing the Exceptional Case Funding scheme from the Legal Aid Agency. This can even apply to areas often excluded from public funding (such as s.8/child arrangements order proceedings). You should ALWAYS investigate this line of funding before agreeing to pay ANY lawyer on a private basis. Please report any provider who does not inform you of the possible availability of public funding in your case to either the BSB or the SRA.
You may also benefit from Legal Insurance (often with motor or household insurance or even your bank). You should contact your provider before agreeing to pay privately for legal services as this may affect your ability to claim for funding.
If we are asked to act in any case where After The Event Insurance (AtE) may apply, we will advise of this before taking any further steps.
Central Chambers has always accepted that there will be times when LA funding (or private funding) has been sought by Instructing Solicitors and then, for whatever reason, not been secured.
Whilst we have been happy to be flexible in this regard, the present state of fees in criminal practice mean that we are no longer able to offer this courtesy. Accordingly, please note that Instructing Solicitors will be liable for fees at the private fees rate in any case where Legal Aid is not secured or where their lay client has not put them in fees but counsel has been obliged to attend court/undertake written work/conferences. Strictly, this is not a change to the contractual position that has always existed between counsel and their Instructing Solicitors but circumstances and fairness now dictate that we apply the contract terms fully.