Some of the most common questions people have about barristers
are to do with fees and costs. It can sometimes be confusing how a
barrister will be paid and what they will charge you for. The most
important thing to know is that you are allowed to ask questions.
If there is anything you do not understand about how you are going
to be charged, talk to your solicitor or barrister about it.
How much will a barrister cost?
How will I be charged?
What is "client money" and why can a barrister
not hold it?
When does a barrister need to be paid?
What items can I expect to see on my bill from
What if I cannot afford a barrister?
When is someone eligible for legal
There is no standard amount that a barrister will charge.
Barristers are allowed to set their own prices for their services.
It is up to you to decide whether you think the price is
reasonable, and whether you want to hire that particular barrister.
If you are using the public access scheme, you may need to talk to
more than one barrister to see what different prices are
When you instruct a barrister, they should make it clear to you
at the outset how you will be charged, what it will cost and who
will pay. If it is not clear you should ask your barrister further
questions to make sure you know what the charges will be.
A barrister should discuss the way you will be charged, and if
it is not clear you should ask for more information. There are a
number of ways a barrister can charge for their services:
The Legal Ombudsman (LEO) has written a guide on what you should
ask your lawyer about costs. The guide can be found
on LEO's website.
"Client money" is money held by a lawyer on behalf of a client.
Solicitors' firms have client accounts where clients can pay in
money in a way similar to a bank account, and that money is held
for them by the firm. Solicitors' firms have protections in place
to ensure that this money is not misused. They also have a
compensation fund that will pay for any money a client loses.
Barristers do not have the same protections in place and are
not allowed to hold money in this way.
This depends on the way you are being charged and what has been
agreed with your barrister. Usually, a barrister needs to be paid
30 days after they send out their invoice. But this may not always
be the case. It is best to discuss when you will need to pay with
your barrister or solicitor when you first instruct them to do work
Some common items you may see on a bill from your barrister
Barristers are required to keep records of the fees they charge
and what they were for. You have the right to see these records.
If you are unsure about what a charge on your bill is for,
your barrister should be able to provide you with information on
what you have been charged for and why.
If you cannot afford a barrister, there are certain types of
cases where you may be able to get legal aid. Legal aid means that
the government will help you to meet the costs of legal advice
and/or representation in a court or tribunal. More information can
be found under the question "When is someone eligible for legal
The Bar Pro Bono Unit can also provide you with legal help if
you cannot afford to pay. However, you will need to be referred to
them by an advice agency such as the Citizens Advice
Bureau, a Law
Centre, your local
MP or a Legal Advice Clinic,
so it would be best to speak to one of these organisations first.
You can find more information about the Bar Pro Bono Unit on their
To be able to get legal aid, you will usually need to be able to
The kind of situations you could get legal aid for include
You will usually need to show that you cannot afford to pay for
this help. You may have to pay some money towards the legal costs
of your case or pay costs back later.
You can find more information on legal aid and how to apply on the gov.uk
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