Our clients expect us to deliver high quality advocacy and advice as a matter of course. We seek ensure that we deliver our service in a thoroughly professional, efficient manner. We have adopted the following Practice Management Standards to ensure that we do.
- Service Standards
- Standards for Financial Remedy Work
Standards for Financial Remedy Work
Deans Court Chambers aim to provide the highest standards of advocacy, advice and service. Members of Chambers and Staff are committed to providing an approachable, efficient and professional service to our clients. The needs of our clients are paramount.
When you contact Chambers to book Counsel, either by telephone or letter, we will inform you if Counsel of your choice has an existing commitment and may not be available. Deans Court Chambers offers strength in depth and will therefore be able to offer you Counsel of similar expertise and experience as an alternative. If we cannot provide acceptable cover we will, should you wish us to do so, assist in finding Counsel.
Our fees are based upon the following
- The seriousness of the case.
- The complexity of the case.
- The value and importance of the case.
- The seniority of Counsel.
- The work involved in the case.
- The degree to which Specialist Knowledge is required.
- The length of the case and commitment involved.
- Travelling/expenses incurred.
Fees estimates can be provided on request once the Brief/Instructions have been received.
In order to provide our clients with a high quality and excellent service, Deans Court Chambers have adopted Practice Management Standards. These standards are available on request, or you can view them on our web-site.
We believe that our clients’ interests should be promoted by the whole of the legal team and endeavour to conduct all work on the basis of co-operation and trust. In order for us to become an effective member of the team, and provide the best service, we need help from those instructing us.
It is vital to the smooth and effective handling of a case that we have sufficient time to prepare. I am sure that you will agree that complex cases involving large quantities of documentation require considerable preparation, whether for a hearing, conference or paperwork. It is, therefore, important that Instructions are sent, which give ample time for preparation.
As you are no doubt aware, as from 5th June 2000, ancillary relief procedure has been substantially amended to bring into effect, with some alterations, the ‘Pilot Scheme’ which has been running for some time in certain courts. We would like to draw your attention to the following legislation and Practice Directions
- Family Proceedings (Amendment No 2) Rules 1999
- Practice Direction incorporating the pre-action Protocol for ancillary relief issued in the Family division on 25th May 2000
- Practice Direction of 10th March 2000 applying to all family cases issued in the High Court and Royal Courts of Justice whatever their length, and in the County Court before Circuit or District Judges where the time estimate is ½ day or more.
The Practice Direction dated 10th March 2000 requires a paginated and indexed bundle of documents to be provided in every case which falls within the criteria set out above. The responsibility for the preparation of the bundle falls to the party in the position of Applicant at the hearing. The bundle must follow the order described in Section 2.1 of the Practice Direction. The bundles should be placed in a ring binder or lever arch file (limited to 350 pages in each file) and should be agreed if possible. It should be lodged two clear days in advance of the hearing.
The following documents should be provided with the bundle:
- A summary of the background to the hearing limited, if practicable, to one A4 page;
- A statement of the issue or issues to be determined;
- A summary of the order or directions sought by each party;
- A Chronology if it is a final hearing or if the summary of the background is insufficient;
- Skeleton Arguments, as may be appropriate, with copies of all the authorities relied upon.
A specific bundle must be provided for each hearing. After each hearing, which is not a final hearing, the party responsible for the bundle should retrieve it from the court. It should then be re-lodged with additional documents for further hearings.
In addition, pursuant to R2.61 and R2.69 of the FPR 1991 (as amended) certain documentation must be filed at court and served on the other party.
At least 14 days prior to the First Appointment (FA) both parties must file
- a concise Statement of Issues
and may file
- Questionnaire referable to the statement of issues seeking further information and documents.
At least 7 days prior to the Final Dispute Resolution Hearing (FDR)
- the Applicant must file all offers, proposals and responses, including all without prejudice and Calderbank offers to the court.
14 days before the final hearing
- the Applicant must file with the court and serve on the other party ‘a Statement of Open Proposals’
7 days after receipt of the Applicant’s Statement of Open Proposals
- the Respondent must file and serve a Statement of Open Proposals.
According to the Practice Direction of 25th May 2000, the new procedure is intended to reduce delay, facilitate settlements, limit costs incurred by parties and provide the court with greater and more effective control over the conduct of proceedings. Courts will expect parties to make offers and proposals and given them due consideration. The courts will expect the procedures to be followed. Breaches are likely to result in wasted costs penalties and costs being disallowed.
In order to comply with the above Practice Directions and procedures and to fulfil our commitment to you, the lay client and the court, we ask that you that the following time-limits be observed for the delivery of briefs and instructions.
Time limits for delivery of Briefs
FDR hearings and Final Hearings
We ask that briefs for these hearings are delivered not less than 14 days before the hearing if the estimated length of hearing is up to 10 days.
For hearings with an estimated length of hearing of 10 days or more, special arrangements will be made through liaison with the Clerks.
We would also ask that you
- notify us of a hearing date as soon as possible, in order to ensure Counsel of your choice is available
- notify us, as early as possible, if a hearing is unlikely to be effective
Time limits for the delivery of paperwork
Our commitment to you:
- We will acknowledge receipt of your instructions in writing and, wherever possible, these instructions will be placed before Counsel on the day of delivery.
- Unless another dead-line is agreed with you, and except in unavoidable circumstances, the following standards should apply.
- Opinions will be completed within 20 working days of receipt within Chambers.
- All other pleadings will be completed within 10 working days of receipt within Chambers.
- If we realise that it will not be possible to return an item of work within the time-scales above, we will notify you as soon as possible.
If a matter is to be dealt with urgently, it would assist us if this could be clearly marked on the backsheet of instructions and in any covering letter with the date work is required being highlighted
Instructions to prepare documentation
It is anticipated that, in the less complex or publicly funded cases, you will already have prepared the documentation required to comply with the standard procedure.
But if Counsel is requested to prepare any documentation which requires filing and serving in accordance with the above Family Proceedings Rules we also ask that separate instructions be delivered and, in the case of preparation of documentation, not less than 10 working days before any documentation is due to be so filed and served.
We ask that, wherever possible, instructions be delivered no less that 10 working days before the conference.
When Briefs/Instructions are returned, an up-to-date fee note should be attached to the papers with a note of the work completed by Counsel.
Payment of Counsel’s fees is required in accordance with the Bar Council’s Code of Conduct, save where there is prior agreement to the contrary. We would ask, therefore, that, in order to provide an efficient and economical service, prompt payment be made of outstanding fee-notes.
Conflicts of Interest
Any conflicts of interest will be identified as soon as possible and brought to your attention.
Deans Court Chambers welcomes feedback from our clients. We believe sustained quality and excellence is only achieved by continuous improvement, we will, therefore, strive to improve the service we provide to our clients. A client satisfaction survey is available on our web site www.deanscourt.co.uk
If you have cause to make a complaint, this complaint should be addressed to the Senior Clerk, who will investigate the matter in conjunction with the Head of Chambers and respond within 14 days.
Deans Court Chambers is an equal opportunities set.
All members of Chambers are registered under the Data Protection Act.