Chambers' Policies

Trinity Chambers operates to the following policy undertakings:

Equality and Diversity

Trinity Chambers is committed to treating everyone fairly and to creating an inclusive working environment which is open to all and does not discriminate on the grounds of protected characteristics and/or social, economic or educational background or circumstances. In particular, we will not tolerate unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, disability, pregnancy and maternity, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership, gender re-assignment, age, religion or philosophical belief.

Furthermore, we recognise that workplace diversity is essential to a strong and commercially successful Chambers. For Trinity Chambers, this means the following:-

  • Selecting the best barristers and staff from the widest possible pool
  • Retaining those barristers and staff for the long-term and supporting their career aspirations
  • Ensuring there is no discrimination in the provision of services
  • Taking positive action where necessary to create and retain a strong, diverse workforce.

As one of our primary aims is for chambers to be more reflective of the society we serve, we specifically want to encourage applicants from under-represented groups including those who are state-educated, BAME, female or have a disability.   

Diversity Data Monitoring

The Bar Standards Board Code of Conduct requires all Chambers to collect and publish an anonymised summary of the diversity data relating to its workforce every three years. At Trinity Chambers, we collect this data on an annual basis and publish it on our website. Our last survey was conducted in Q4 2020 and can be found here.

We use this data to identify the areas in which chambers needs to improve and to create a robust action plan to ensure that Trinity Chambers not only reflects the community we serve but also creates a working environment in which fairness and respect for each other’s differences is at the heart of our decision-making.

The responsibility for delivering our Equality & Diversity policies and procedures lies with our Equality & Diversity Committee, which comprises eight members of Chambers.  The members are drawn from a range of practice groups within Chambers and from different levels of seniority and experience from QC to junior tenants. The committee was reconfigured in 2020, with the aim of reviewing and strengthening chambers’ equality and diversity policies and initiatives. This has resulted in the rollout of several training programmes across members and staff, and ongoing innovative and collaborative initiatives to work to address issues impacting the bar as a whole. This has included a number of community outreach projects with the aim of making our members and our work more visible and better understood, with the ultimate aim of increasing diversity at the bar.  

For questions relating to our equality and diversity policies or data, please contact one of our Equality and Diversity Officers, Helen Hogben and Parissa Najah. We also welcome and encourage any suggestions which help us on our learning journey. 

Current and Developing initiatives 

  • From October 2021, Trinity Chambers will offer mini-pupillages through the Inner Temple Pegasus Scheme and will also partner with Bridging the Bar.
  • Barristers regularly visit schools to provide informative talks on the profession. This year, in conjunction with a local law firm and two other Chambers in the North-East, we are in the process of developing a schools outreach programme targeting Y10s in some of those North East schools with high numbers of children in receipt of pupil premium funding. The aim is to encourage students from underrepresented groups to consider a future career in law. We are in the process of developing a 4-part course on different areas of law including discrimination/human rights, crime, social media and family law and we aim to start this in September 2021.
  • Our Barristers speak at events promoting careers at the Bar for women. Two of our female barristers were guest speakers at a Women Lawyers and Mothers (WLAM) event in March 2020 in which they shared their experiences of life at the Bar as working mothers and offered support/advice to other women experiencing similar issues.

Legal Services

  • The excellence of legal services is upheld through the mutual support of fellow practitioners in each practice group.
  • Practitioners may join practice groups, which are based on specific areas of law, once the group has deemed the applicant to be sufficiently trained and competent to uphold the standards of legal practice required by the group.
  • If an instruction has to be allocated to an alternative barrister, clients can be assured that the clerks will only put forward a barrister of the same practice group, if available, and so ensure that high standards of legal support are maintained.
  • Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) cases can be accepted certain barristers of Trinity Chambers in accordance with the Bar Council's practice procedures.
  • Trinity Chambers´ comprehensive law library, both in paper and electronic form, ensures that barristers have access to the legal information, including law reports dating back to 1785 (in paper form only!).
  • Practice groups regularly provide seminars, both open and in-house, to clients whose details are held on our database. These seminars are accredited by the Law Society for CPD.
  • Conferences can be arranged to suit the client and lay client by being held either in Chambers or at the client´s office.

General Services

  • Trinity Chambers´ opening hours are from 0830 am to 6 pm Mondays to Thursdays, and to 5.30 pm on Fridays, less Bank Holidays.
  • Out of hours emergency contact can be made by telephoning 0191 245 0170.
  • By optimising secure technology, clients can leave messages for a barrister by using that barrister's individual email address (as shown on their profiles), or by leaving a telephone message which will be transferred to the barrister's mobile telephone.
  • Through the use of a bulk fax feeder, Chambers is able to receive lengthy documents rapidly when time frames are tight. Hard copy through the DX or post should be sent as normal.
  • All barristers and clerks are registered for Data Protection by the Commissioner.

Response Times

  • Written instructions and briefs will be acknowledged in writing as having been passed to the agreed barrister within one working day of receipt.
  • Written instructions will be acted upon, and responded to, within 14 days unless an alternative time frame has been requested and agreed.
  • Urgent work will be completed to meet an agreed time scale.
  • Messages (telephone, faxes and e-mails) will be made available to barristers within one working hour of receipt.
  • Barristers will return calls to clients as soon as possible.
  • Clients will be kept informed of any significant changes, conflicts or other developments, and of any delays, promptly.

Clerking

  • Only those barristers who have the appropriate seniority and expertise will be put forward by the clerks.
  • Clients will be informed as soon as possible of any potential difficulty that may result in a barrister not being available to attend a hearing.
  • All information received by the clerks will be regarded as being confidential in line with Chambers' procedures. Clients are requested to instruct the clerks should any special safeguards be required. Secure storage of particularly sensitive material is available with enhanced security facilities available through the clerks.

Fees, Billing and Price Transparency

At Trinity Chambers, we recognise the importance of price to our professional and lay clients. Our Barristers most often charge hourly rates or offer fixed fees for privately funded work. The setting of these rates depends on several factors, for example the seniority of the Barrister, the type of work, complexity of the case etc.

Ad hoc or one off pieces of work are likely to be charged on an hourly basis, requests for specific work or court hearings will be offered at a fixed fee, dependent on your needs. All our fees, hourly rates and fixed fees, are subject to VAT.

Indicative Prices

  • Hourly rates: from £125 + vat to £500+ vat
  • Fixed fees: Based on the work you have requested, a quote will be produced and agreed before any contract is exchanged and any work commenced
  • Trials: You will be quoted for a ‘brief fee’ (preparation and day 1 of trial) and then a ‘refresher’ fee for each day following.
  • Clerks will advise in appropriate cases where the fee rates need to be varied depending upon the complexity of the case after consultation with counsel.
  • Fee notes will be rendered within seven days of the completion of the work, unless otherwise agreed.

Our terms of engagement relate to our barrister’s fees across all of our key practice areas of Crime, Regulatory, Family and Civil Law and apply to hearings listed in the Magistrates Court, County Court, Crown Court and Higher Courts.

To obtain a specific quote please contact the clerks on info@trinitychambers.co.uk

For Direct Access matters (no solicitor involved) please contact fiona@trinitychambers.co.uk
Further information can also be found in the Bar Standards Board's Public Access Guidance for lay clients.

Our fees in privately funded cases fall due to be paid within one month of the fee note, unless otherwise agreed.

In relation to criminal fees Trinity Chambers adopts the Bar Council's Graduated Fee Payment Protocol.

Since the date of its implementation on 31st January 2013, the barristers at Trinity work under the Standard Conditions of Contract

Timescales

Each case will vary depending on factors such as Barrister availability, court listing times, nature of the case etc. Most written work will be completed around 14 days following instructions, unless notified otherwise should the matter be more complex and require additional preparation. You will be notified of the appropriate timescale on the receipt of instructions.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to these arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact Trinity Chambers’ Director, Tim Harris.

Complaints

1. The aim of the barristers and staff of Trinity Chambers is to provide all of our clients with the highest level of service at all times. However if you have a complaint you are invited to let us know as soon as possible. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make your complaint but you are free to do so should you wish. 

2. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, also has a 6 year time limit from the date of the act or omission or 3 years from when the complainant should have reasonably known that there were grounds for a complaint. We must therefore have regard to that time frame when deciding whether we are able to investigate complaints.  

3. The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the barrister's client are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of the Chambers' investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.

4. It should be noted that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. This is because the ability of Chambers to satisfactorily investigate and resolve such matters is limited and complaints of this nature are often better suited to the disciplinary processes maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Therefore, Chambers will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if they feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through the Chambers complaints process they will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.

Complaints made by telephone 

5. You may wish to make a complaint in writing and, if so, please follow the procedure in paragraph 7 below. However, if you would rather speak on the telephone about your complaint then please telephone the Chambers' Director. If the complaint is about the Chambers' Director you should telephone the Chair of the Complaints Panel, Miss Katherine Wood. The person you contact will make a note of the details of your complaint and what you would like done about it. She will discuss your concerns with you and aim to resolve them. If the matter is resolved she will record the outcome, check that you are satisfied with the outcome and record that you are satisfied. You may also wish to record the outcome of the telephone discussion in writing.

6. If your complaint is not resolved on the telephone you will be invited to write to us about it so it can be investigated formally. 

Complaints made in writing 

7. Please give the following details: 
 
• Your name and address; 

• Which member(s) of Chambers you are complaining about; 

• The detail of the complaint; and 

• What you would like done about it. 

Please address your letter to Mr Tim Harris, Chambers' Director. We will, where possible, acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two days and provide you with details of how your complaint will be dealt with.

8. Our Chambers has a panel headed by Miss Katherine Wood and made up of experienced members of Chambers and a senior member of staff, which considers any written complaint. Within 14 days of your letter being received the head of the panel or her deputy in her absence, will appoint a member of the panel to investigate it. If your complaint is against the head of the panel, the next most senior member of the panel will investigate it. In any case, the person appointed will be someone other than the person you are complaining about. 

9. The person appointed to investigate will write to you as soon as possible to let you know he/she has been appointed and that he/she will reply to your complaint within 14 days. If he/she finds later that he/she is not going to be able to reply within 14 days he/she will set a new date for his/her reply and inform you. His/her reply will set out: 

• The nature and scope of his/her investigation; 

• His/her conclusion on each complaint and the basis for his/her conclusion; and 

• If he/she finds that you are justified in your complaint, his/her proposals for resolving the complaint. 

Confidentiality 

10. 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 of Chambers, members of our management committee and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister member or staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions. 

Our Policy 

11. As part of our commitment to client care we make a written record of any complaint and retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of six years. Our management committee inspects an anonymised record regularly with a view to improving services. 

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman 

12. If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation and you fall within their jurisdiction you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers, at the conclusion of our consideration of your complaint. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by Chambers. Please note that the Legal Ombudsman has a twelve-month time limit from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining within which to make your complaint. You can access the decision data on the Legal Ombudsman's website here. You can write to them at: 

Legal Ombudsman 
PO Box 6806, 
Wolverhampton 
WV1 9WJ

Telephone number: 0300 555 0333 

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk 

13. If you are not the barrister's client and are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation then please contact the Bar Standards Board at:

Bar Standards Board 
Professional Conduct Department 
289-293 High Holborn 
London 
WC1V 7JZ

Telephone number: 0207 6111 444

Website : www.barstandardsboard.org.uk  

You can also access the Barristers' Register here