It is a sign of these cost- conscious times that Barnards Inn Chambers has no fewer than five different fee structures for solicitors to choose from.
Why the need for so many? Practice director Andrea Kennedy explains: "We want our clients to know that we are not going to hold them to ransom. Some chambers have been charging outrageous amounts. On the other hand, there are dangers in setting rates too low. We are not going to get involved in any Dutch auctions."
Under their traditional rates, a fixed sum representing the value of advocacy or written work is agreed in advance; or the work may be charged at a particular barrister's hourly rate.
Standard appearance, advisory and pleading rates are negotiable and may be discounted for volume work, especially where the client intends to tender for institutional or high turnover business.
Alternatively, where counsel is instructed for an entire action – including pleadings, interlocutory appearances and trial – an all-inclusive global fee can be negotiated.
To cover all eventualities, Barnards Inn also lists future rates, which cover "new and commercially-based fee structures," as and when professional rules permit.