Brick Court Chambers

The clerks at Brick Court Chambers are experienced and knowledgeable. Led by Paul Dennison and Tony Burgess, they are able to advise clients on choosing the most suitable counsel and help with all aspects of efficient case management.

Details about our contract terms and policies relating to diary booking, confidentiality and complaints can be found below, in addition to further information about the different clients and entities that instruct the Barristers at Brick Court Chambers.

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  • Contract Terms

    On 31 January 2013, the provisions of the Code of Conduct relating to the terms on which barristers supply services were amended. Notwithstanding these changes, unless otherwise expressly agreed in writing, members of Brick Court Chambers will continue to accept instructions on the basis of the Standard Non-Contractual Terms formerly set out at Annex G1 to the Bar Code of Conduct, save that to reflect the discontinuance of the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme paragraphs 15 to 20 and 22 to 24 are deleted and the parties agree that instead  the following contractual term shall apply to the supply of the barrister’s services:

    "29. Any dispute relating to fees payable under these Terms (including any dispute arising out of the non-payment of fees) may be referred by either the barrister or the solicitor to the Tribunal in which event paragraphs 14(3) and 14(4) shall apply to such reference whether or not such fees have been challenged under paragraph 14(1). The decision of the Tribunal in relation to any such reference shall be final and legally binding on both parties. Notwithstanding paragraphs 25 and 26 (Status of Terms), the parties expressly agree to be contractually bound by this paragraph 29."

    Members of chambers will also accept instructions under the BSB Standard Contractual Terms, as required by the Bar Code of Conduct.

    For further information please contact the clerks.

  • Diary Booking

    Chambers operates a strict policy against “double booking”.  If a client requests a diary booking which conflicts with an existing diary entry, the existing entry will be disclosed and the second booking will be accepted only with the client’s full consent. The clerks have excellent working relationships with the High Court’s administrative staff, and are usually able to ensure that hearings are allocated convenient dates.

    For further information please contact the clerks.

  • Confidentiality

    Introduction

    • These Guidelines are for use in circumstances where members of Brick Court Chambers are instructed on behalf of different parties or as arbitrator (etc) in cases involving other members of chambers.
    • The Guidelines are designed to assist barristers to comply with Core Duty 6 of the Bar Standards Board’s Handbook (the duty to keep the affairs of each client confidential) and pursuant to rule rC89.5 of that Handbook. They do not relate to the circumstances in which a barrister must, for reasons of professional embarrassment such as a conflict of interest, decline to accept a brief or instructions pursuant to rule rC21 of the Handbook.

    Guidelines

    In devising the system we concluded that consideration should be given to the following areas where a breach could occur:

    Informing solicitors

    • At the outset of litigation there may be a time when rival parties will not want the fact that they have taken legal advice to be known otherwise than to their advisers. We respect this confidentiality.
    • In these circumstances each barrister must ensure that his/her clerk is aware of the fact and must inform his/her clerk when the position changes.
    • In any event as soon as practicable both barristers should be told of each other’s involvement.
    • Once both barristers have been informed, both sets of solicitors should be informed that they have instructed counsel in the same chambers.
    • Solicitors should be informed of chambers’ practice in such circumstances, to enable a client to decide if he wishes to continue to instruct the barrister in question.
    • Clerks and solicitors should consider whether any variation of chambers’ usual practice is necessary in the particular circumstances.

    Clerking

    • We provide separate clerking where members appear against each other.
    • Solicitors are informed so that they can deal with the relevant clerk.
    • Telephone calls can be taken away from the clerks’ room and procedures implemented to separate electronic records to satisfy the client’s requirements.

    Papers

    • Care is taken to ensure papers are kept confidential to the barrister working on the case.
    • Solicitors should be asked if they wish to use a code name for the case, to remove any indication on the outside of papers as to what matter they relate to.
    • Where particularly sensitive documents are to be delivered, clerks make arrangements with solicitors to ensure security. We also maintain security by ensuring secure disposal by security vetted waste disposal contractors. We also shred confidential documents if it is thought appropriate so to do.

    Diaries

    • We maintain secure electronic diaries.
    • Individual diaries are not available for inspection by other barristers.
    • Chambers does not publish a daily diary page.

    E-mails

    • Each barrister has a personal e-mail address.
    • Clerks are happy to discuss options for encryption of emails where required.

    Barristers’ rooms

    • Barristers’ rooms are lockable and a number of members of chambers have personal safes to store sensitive documentation.
    • We are happy to discuss security measures tailored to specific client needs and concerns.

    Discussion amongst members of chambers

    • Barristers on opposite sides will not discuss the case with each other, unless instructed to do so.
    • Counsel will exercise discretion in discussing the matter with any other members of chambers or other clerks.

    For further information please contact the clerks.

  • Complaints
    • Brick Court Chambers prides itself on the excellence of its service. If at any time you have any concerns about the quality of the services of our barristers or members of staff you are invited to let us know as soon as possible.
    • In line with our friendly and open approach, in the first instance we would always encourage you to discuss any day-to-day concerns about the services of our barristers directly with them. Any such concerns can also always be raised with our clerking team, and, in particular, with Paul Dennison or Tony Burgess, our Senior Clerks.
    • Any concerns about members of staff should be raised with Paul Dennison or Tony Burgess. If the complaint is about either of the senior clerks please discuss the matter with the Head(s) of Chambers.
    • We would very much hope that the matter can be resolved at this point, and that you will be satisfied with the outcome.
    • However, if you feel that the concern or matter you have raised has not been dealt with to your satisfaction, then you may wish to make a formal complaint. We set out the steps in our formal complaints procedure below.

    Formal complaints procedure

    • Please address your formal letter of complaint to Mark Howard QC or Helen Davies QC, Brick Court Chambers, 7-8 Essex Street, London, WC2R 3LD. Please give the following details: your name and address, which member(s) of Chambers (or staff) you are complaining about; the detail of the complaint, and what you would like done about it.
    • Within 21 days of your letter being received the Head(s) of Chambers, or her/his/their deputy in her/his/their absence, will investigate the complaint her/himself/themselves in conjunction with the practice manager and the senior clerk. If your complaint is against the Head(s) of Chambers it will be investigated by the next most senior member of our Chambers’ Executive Committee in conjunction with one of the senior clerks. In any case, the person(s) investigating the complaint will be other than the person you are complaining about.
    • The person handling the investigation will write to you as soon as possible to let you know she/he has been appointed and that she/he will reply to your complaint within 21 days. If she/he finds later that she/he is not going to be able to reply within 21 days she/he will set a new date for her/his reply and inform you. Her/his reply will set out: the nature and scope of her/his investigation; her/his conclusion on each complaint and the basis for her/his conclusion; and, if she/he finds that you are justified in your complaint, her/his proposals for resolving the complaint.

    Confidentiality

    • All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. Disclosure will be to the Head(s) of Chambers, our senior clerk and our chambers administrator and will include anyone else we consider necessary to involve in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member or staff member about whom you have complained. If such a complaint is made, we will assume that you are authorising those investigating the complaint to view all the papers or other correspondence relevant to the matter.

    Our policy

    • As part of our commitment to client care we will make a written record of any formal complaint.

    Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman

    • We hope that you will use our procedure. However, if you would rather not do so, or are unhappy with the outcome, you may have the choice of taking up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman. You can write to the Legal Ombudsman at:

    Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

    Tel: 0300 555 0333

    Website: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk

    ADR approved bodies

    • In the event that it does not prove possible to settle your complaint using our formal complaints procedure, and all parties consent, alternative complaints bodies exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services. These include Ombudsman Services, ProMediate and Small Claims Mediation.

    For further information please contact the clerks.

  • UK Solicitors' Firms

    The majority of work undertaken by members of Brick Court Chambers is through referrals from UK solicitors’ firms. Instructions may arise from an established relationship with a barrister, because of a recommendation by a client, or following discussion with one of the clerks about who would be best placed to work on a matter.

    Diary bookings and fee negotiations are undertaken by the clerks. All types of fee arrangements are considered, and we are happy to give estimates prior to work being undertaken.

    Brick Court Chambers has strict policies in place regarding the double booking of counsel and in the event of opposing counsel being instructed within chambers.

  • In-House Lawyers

    An increasing number of instructions to the Bar are from in-house lawyers instructing barristers directly. This trend has been embraced by Brick Court Chambers, which now works directly with a substantial number of in-house counsel and General Counsel.

    Not all cases will be suitable for direct instruction to the Bar (for example where a matter requires a large team) but good examples in our experience include initial advisory work, pre-litigation strategy advice and some instructions for attendance at hearings.

    One major advantage of direct instruction is cost. Another is having a single point of contact with your adviser rather than a large team of assistants. As members of chambers appear regularly before courts and tribunals, they have an up-to-the-minute understanding of how the courts will interpret submissions and evidence and consequently how best to structure and prepare them.

    We also have the familiarity with the UK legal services market to be able to advise clients on the range of litigation solicitors that may best complement our barristers when needed to assist with progressing a case through to a hearing.

  • International Lawyers

    Barristers from Brick Court Chambers are involved in a large volume of international work, frequently instructed directly by lawyers from other jurisdictions, and appearing in courts and tribunals all over the world.

    Unlike in some jurisdictions, the legal profession in the UK is divided into two distinct branches - barristers and solicitors. Solicitors are typically in direct contact with lay clients, whereas barristers are generally appointed by solicitors on behalf of their clients for advocacy and advisory work. A persuasive and well-presented argument is a highly-prized and necessary part of the litigation procedure in the UK legal system, and the benefit of a barrister’s experience in this can often give one party an edge.

    For international lawyers, instructing an English barrister is a straightforward process. Barristers are all self-employed but share the services of a clerk and administration with other barristers in a collective called a set of chambers. The first point of contact in employing a barrister is through their clerks who manage their diaries and all fee matters. The experienced and knowledgeable team of clerks at Brick Court Chambers, led by Paul Dennison and Tony Burgess, have detailed knowledge of the experience and skills of each of our barristers and are therefore ideally positioned to assist on the best choice of counsel, as well as all aspects of efficient case management. Details of fees for the instruction of a barrister can be obtained from the clerks, who can also provide cost estimates for both barristers’ work and English litigation more generally.

    Where a matter so requires, barristers may work in teams of two or more. The flexibility of the chambers system means that they need not necessarily be members of the same chambers. From time to time barristers in the same chambers may be instructed by parties who are on opposing sides of a dispute. These arrangements can seem unusual to some clients, but they may rest assured that there are very specific procedures in place to ensure that confidentiality and the highest standard of ethics are maintained when this occurs. Our confidentiality guidelines can be found by clicking here.

    From January 2014 overseas lawyers can instruct and engage barristers directly to conduct litigation in the courts of England and Wales. A barrister can advise you if this is appropriate or not; if the additional involvement of an English solicitor is thought to be more appropriate, we are able to refer you to a very extensive network of firms in the United Kingdom and beyond.

    Below are some testimonials from international lawyers who have used barristers from Brick Court Chambers:

    “In engagements with four silks and their juniors over several years, I have found Brick Court extraordinarily reliable, practical and responsive. A foreign lawyer should feel at ease instructing Brick Court.”

    Michael Socarras, Washington DC

    “I had the privilege of working with a silk from Brick Court in major anti trust proceedings in Australia, and there is no doubt that this was a career highlight for me. As an added bonus, I found dealing with the senior clerks and other staff of the chambers to be a real delight - I felt they were very conscious of considering my needs as instructing solicitor and those of my Australian client and went out of their way to make everything run smoothly - so that the time zone and jurisdictional differences seemed non existent.”

    Rebecca Davies, Sydney

  • Direct Access

    Direct Public Access to Barristers

    Some members of chambers of over 3 years’ call have undertaken the required training to be able to accept instructions directly from lay clients without the involvement of a solicitor or other intermediary. The barrister will be able to draft documents, give written advice and provide advocacy services in courts and tribunals.

    Licensed Access

    Members of chambers also accept instructions via the Bar Council’s Licensed Access scheme from professionals such as surveyors, accountants, engineers, planners etc who have been granted a licence to instruct a barrister directly.

    Please contact the clerks for more information and assistance regarding direct access.