How to instruct me

For a fixed fee, payable in advance of commencement of a defined scope of work, I can conduct litigation and represent you as an advocate from start to finish, without the involvement of a solicitor.

My standard claim analysis consultation fee is £1,500.00, which is payable in advance of reading any papers and providing legal advice by telephone/e-mail.

To enquire about instructing me please send an email to either carl@ihtbar.com or to my Clerk Mr Paul Wright, enquiries@quartzlegal.co.uk including your contact details and a brief description about who is in dispute, over what, and why.

To speak to my clerk,  Mr Paul Wright, please call him on either:

0115 896 1983

07920 141 246

My Practising Certificate has been extended by the Bar Standards Board to authorise me to conduct litigation. In an appropriate case, this permits me to carry out day to day case management activities (including the issue of a Claim Form in any court in England and Wales) which are reserved to Solicitors, and in effect, to offer a one stop shop litigation and advocacy service to members of the public, from evaluation of the merits, evidence, and remedies, through to trial or settlement of the claim.

I advise on all of the disputes listed on the Contentious Probate Handbook page of this website. Please also note that my recent and current case-load includes the matters listed on the Contentious Probate page.

Before I can provide legal advice I need to be formally instructed.

In order to understand what it is that you want me to advise about, you need to provide a coherent and accurate account of the facts, and to state the outcome you are seeking, i.e. your objectives – what you want the court to order.

Under the professional conduct rules of the Bar which apply to public access work, before a Barrister can agree to act he must evaluate whether or not a solicitor needs to be involved, e.g. to investigate and assemble evidence. I therefore only undertake public access work with clients who can communicate with me clearly, and who make decisions after they have received legal advice about evidence, merits, remedies, procedure, costs, litigation risks, and ADR.

In my experience, the best starting point for a lay client is to assume no knowledge of the law and civil procedure rules, to focus of facts, and to instruct their professional advisor to advise whether or not they have a case, what that is, and what further information needs to be provided and issues investigated to properly evaluate merits. Otherwise the claim will not have been properly analysed.

The simplest and most cost-effective way to assemble and communicate facts in dispute is to provide a concise and accurate chronology of events cross-referred to documentary evidence, which becomes the spine of the claim.

I provide a claim analysis as part of the first stage of the work that I undertake on any case. This results in the creation of a Case Summary grid which is a road-map that serves as a case-management tool throughout the conduct of the case, and can be adapted to draft a Case Summary for filing with the court (i.e. ahead of a Case Management Conference with the Judge).

Once I have completed a Case Summary Grid I can properly scope the work to be undertaken and can provide a fixed fee quote in advance for undertaking each subsequent stage of work through to settlement/trial.

To enable me to carry out a claim analysis you will need to email me:

  • a concise and accurate statement about the background to the dispute (i.e. to set the scene);
  • a list of persons involved in the case (and who they are);
  • a succint chronology of events;
  • a list of documents in your possession (including correspondence);
  • HM Land Registry Office copies (in the dispute involves property);
  • the Will and any Codicil;
  • copies of any Caveat and Appearance;
  • a copy of the IHT 400 (in draft form or as filed);
  • copies of any asset valuations; and
  • copies of any statements of case and witness statements.

In a contentious probate claim, because an executor may be held personally liable for costs if he is considered to have acted unreasonably in bringing legal proceedings against a third party for the benefit of the estate, or in defending proceedings brought against him as an executor, this analysis includes consideration of whether or not an application needs to be made for directions to bring or defend legal proceeding (i.e. for a Beddoe Order), to obtain costs protection before engaging in litigation. As an application will not be necessary where all the beneficiaries are ascertained, competent and agreed as to the course they want the executor to take, I will need to establish whether all of the beneficiaries have been ascertained, consulted, and are agreed.

My standard fixed fee for providing a claim analysis (i.e. as part of the first stage of work) is £1,500.00.

Where claim analysis is to be followed by an initial exchange of correspondence my standard fixed fee for undertaking this first stage of work is £3,000.00.

As part of the second stage of work, the drafting of a Part 8 Beddoe Application for consent, can in principle be combined with the drafting of a Protocol letter as a prelude to issuing proceedings, i.e. if the other parties are unwilling to enter into ADR after this has been proposed in initial open correspondence (during the first stage of the work undertaken).

Where this method of case presentation is appropriate (which should be determined after an initial exchange of correspondence has taken place), my standard fixed fee for undertaking this second stage of work is £3,000.00.

If the Beddoe Application proceeds a court fee will be payable, and in addition I will charge a fixed fee for drafting a Skeleton Argument for filing with the court and for attending any hearing (including travel disbursements), although unless opposed, the Beddoe Application can and should be dealt with on paper.

To read my ‘Guide to Instructing a Public Access Barrister’ please click on this link: LINK

For Solicitors my standard terms of engagement are based upon the draft contractual terms agreed by the Commercial Bar Association with the City of London Law Society (the ‘COMBAR CLLS’ terms) as approved by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund.

Please note that I do not undertake work in relation to disputes worth in excess of £5 million.

A self-employed Barrister who holds a dual capacity practice certificate (for which I qualify and can apply), is licensed to provide any advisory, drafting, and advocacy services exercising full rights of audience, to a firm of solicitors.

A dual capacity Barrister can enter into an umbrella contract for services with a firm of Solicitors to provide advisory, drafting, and advocacy services to the firm’s lay clients:

  1. at the firm’s offices or elsewhere: and
  2. as and when required.

In a litigation matter, the Barrister would appear, exercising full rights of audience, as a legal practitioner providing advocacy services to the law firm’s client. In which case, for the court’s record, the lay client is represented in the proceedings and at any hearing by the law firm, and not by the Barrister.

A law firm website can include the professional profile of a dual capacity Barrister who provides legal services to the firm under a contract for services. In principle such a Barrister could accurately be described as an ‘Associated’ or ‘Affiliated Counsel’.

If you are interested in discussing the benefits of entering into an umbrella contract for services, under which I can provide niche contentious probate services to your clients through your firm, please send an email to carl@ihtbar.com.

From January 2014 overseas lawyers can also instruct and engage barristers directly to conduct litigation in the courts of England and Wales.

‘A barrister can now accept instructions directly from a foreign lawyer to provide advocacy services preparatory to appearing in Court in England or Wales without an English solicitor intermediary. The barrister cannot (unless he has the requisite conduct of litigation extension) step foot in Court without a solicitor (or other authorised litigator) but, if there were some urgent need to prepare for, say, an injunction, [he] could start work on the skeleton argument and oral arguments in parallel with the search for a suitable solicitor, subject to the client or foreign lawyer bringing in a solicitor by the time of appearing in Court.’ A summary note of changes to the rules on international practice published by the Bar Standards Board 20.01.2014.