Fees and Timescales

Our services

Upon your first contact with us, our team will discuss the problem with you in detail and ascertain what steps need to be taken and whether it is a matter suitable for our assistance. Example elements of work include, but are not limited to the following:

    1. Advising in Conference (both in person and by telephone decided on a case-by-case basis).
    2. Corresponding with parties on your behalf — limited to the matter in which we are instructed and excluding the general management of your affairs.
    3. Drafting or settling witness statements and statements of case. E.g. Particulars of Claim, Defence, Defence and Counterclaim, Reply, Defence Statements, Statement of Issues, Position Statement.
    4. Drafting and reviewing contracts.
    5. Negotiating on your behalf.
    6. Representation in court (Advocacy). E.g. Preliminary hearings; case management hearings; case and cost management hearings; fact find hearings; dispute resolution appointments; final hearings; trials including small claims, fast track, multi-track, family, inquest and criminal trials, and employment tribunals.

Fees and costs

All fees are subject to VAT. Barristers do not and cannot hold client money on account. The effect of this is that fees are agreed in two ways:

    1. A “Fixed Fee” paid in advance. Fixed fees may be agreed if we can determine the amount of time it will take to complete the work and agree on the fee. In this case, you will not pay more than the fixed fee for that element of work, although subsequent work is often required, thereafter.
    2. A “Fixed Minimum Fee” paid in advance; meaning the minimum fee payable for the work, where additional work may be required and charged at an hourly rate. Fixed Minimum Fees are not refundable if the work is completed more quickly.
    3. “Brief fee plus refreshers”; for multi-day trials, barristers may agree to charge a “brief fee” which represents preparation for the case and the first day of trial, plus, a “refresher” fee, which is a lower fee, chargeable for each subsequent day of trial, thereafter. This is not to be confused with a “Fixed Minimum Fee”, where a fixed fee is quoted for all days and is non-refundable if the case settles on day 1.
    4. Work on an hourly rate. If we cannot determine the full extent of the work required, we will charge you for a number of hours upfront and you will top up the hours as we progress the case, as required. In the unlikely event that we complete the work in less time than you have paid for in advance, we will refund the balance to you; in this case, you agree that we are not holding the balance on trust for you.
    5. Similarly, barristers cannot pay/receive disbursements on your behalf and you must arrange for these to be paid/received separately. E.g. court fees, expert fees.
    6. When you engage barristers, if you are a lay client, we will ask you to sign an Engagement Letter and agree to its terms. If you are a solicitor, we will confirm the instructions in writing.
    7. Thereafter, each element of work will be detailed and billed in a Fee Note, to be paid in advance of the work undertaken.

Key stages of working with a Public Access Barrister

Typically, one of the first services you may be offered by a Public Access barrister is advising in conference. This might be by telephone or in person, depending on where you are and the volume of papers the barrister needs to read. This will typically be charged at an hourly rate or a fixed fee.

Written advice
Most barristers, whether at the outset or after a conference, will suggest that you need written advice on the merits of your case or procedural requirements. This is very often offered at a fixed fee but if it is very complex, it will be offered on an hourly rate with an estimated number of hours paid up front.

A barrister can draft and send letters of correspondence on your behalf about your case. This can very often encourage settlement discussions and resolve your case without going to court — although there is no guarantee. Barristers will usually fix a fee for drafting a letter but more complex letters may be charged at an hourly rate.

However, it is important to remember that only barristers who have proper authorisation can file and serve documents or applications at court and on other parties. If you do not have a solicitor, and the barrister is not authorised to conduct litigation, you will need to do this.

Most court appearances will be offered at a fixed fee. There are likely to be a number of court hearings aside from the main trial such as:

Allocation hearings – when the court hears arguments as to whether the case should be on the small claims track / fast track / multi-track.

Directions hearings – when the court hears parties’ requests for deadlines such as disclosure, witness statements, cost budgets, permission and agreements for expert reports etc.

Case management hearings – similar to Directions hearings, but often involve the court hearing more matters and issues, such as admissibility and trial timetables

Application hearings – many cases have interim applications, which sometimes require a court hearing to hear both parties’ arguments

Trial – the most expensive part of any case, if it gets that far, is the trial itself. Fees will almost always be discussed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the number of days and complexity of the matter.

Motoring Offences Timescales

Timescales for our services may vary depending on factors such as barristers’ availability, the complexity of your case and the need for additional documents. As a guide, written advice on your case will be available within two to four weeks where possible. You may also need representation at short notice. If so, please contact the clerks and our barristers will aim to represent you at the hearing where possible.


We charge fixed fees, where possible, which means that we will charge you a set amount of money for the work. Otherwise, we may indicate that an hourly rate is required, which is explained in further detail in our Terms of Business, linked in the page footer. Below we provide estimates based on the ranges of fixed fees for barristers provided by ShenSmith Law. All fees are subject to VAT.

Fixed fees may vary depending on your needs – for example, your fees may be towards the higher end of the range if you need a more experienced barrister and/or you have a complex case. If you have a particularly complex case, your fees may also be higher than the estimates below. There are also likely to be additional costs, such as requiring reports, references, or other documents, and other expenses, such as travel and/or postage, not covered here.

Stage of case

Ranges of fixed fees (all fees are estimates and subject to VAT)

Written advice on your case

Letter to rebut Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty (subject to having a conference and/or advice, and, there being a defence available to rebut the alleged offence)

£250 – £1500

£250 — £850

Preparation of case, including conferences with you and assistance with drafting of court documents

£500 – £2500

Guilty pleas

£250 – £850

First appearance (pre-trial court appearance)

£150 – £500

First day of trial

£500 – £1500

Court appearances per day, after the first day of trial

£300 – £1500

Contact Us

All information is correct as of 5.7.19, but fees are estimates only. For the most accurate fixed fee estimate, please contact the clerks on 0203 627 9580, or e-mail [email protected]



Running your case

What does “on the record as acting” mean?

  1. When you approach a traditional firm of solicitors and they write to third parties or their lawyers on your behalf, they take responsibility for receiving and replying to correspondence from both them and the court and complying with the relevant court deadlines. If you choose to represent yourself, you are responsible for the running of your case and you will be ‘on the record’ as a ‘litigant in person’
  2. While barristers may be authorised to conduct litigation, they will not automatically be on the record as acting in your case, unless you instruct to do so, which requires an additional fee.
  3. If you remain a litigant in person, the barrister must determine that you are competent to undertake the role of a solicitor, should you choose to conduct the case yourself — although they can assist you in many respects with drafting replies and statements of case along the way.

General Timescales

  1. We aim to respond to your initial enquiry within 24 hours or sooner.
  2. We aim to provide you with a quotation for work within 24 hours of:
    1. Receiving full details about the work you require us to undertake;
    2. Receiving all documents that pertain to your matter; and
    3. You confirming the seniority of barrister you require to undertake the work.
  3. There are several things that might influence the timescale within which we and our barristers provide your legal services, including:
    1. Our availability;
    2. Your availability or that of relevant third parties;
    3. Your cooperation with enquiries and work in general;
    4. The complexity of the case;
    5. The amount of papers we need to review;
    6. The need for additional information or documents;
    7. The approach taken by the other side;
    8. Third parties intervening in the case and their cooperation; and
    9. Court waiting times.


  1. You are free at any stage to engage another firm or an authorised individual to represent you.
  2. If we decide that it is in your best interests to seek another firm or individual, we will do so without delay and inform you that we can no longer accept your instructions. However, we will render assistance in doing so if you have imminent deadlines that will cause you difficulties.