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Dispute over Barrister''s invoice

  • Tiana
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16 Apr 16 #476967 by Tiana
Topic started by Tiana
I wish to deduct around £ 1,500 from my barrister''s £ 7K FH fee on the basis that he failed drafting the order shortly after FH as promised in Court, resulting in the my STBX barrister drafting it to his advantage and causing many months of delay, amendments, stress, depression, severe anxiety, lack of sleep and extra cost from solicitors.
My solicitor was holding the 6K in their account on my barrister''s behalf but have since deducted their own fees from it, resulting in them asking me for additional payment to revert to the 6K.
I have a few questions:
. Is my solicitor allowed to deduct their fee from what was clearly a payment to the barrister?
. Can I instruct my solicitor to transfer the payment held on balance to my barrister, and then take up the disagreement directly with my barrister?
. Should I contact my barrister directly by email or go through his chambers regarding the dispute with his fee?

Many questions I know but i am trying to get my head on how the system works.

Thank you in advance for anyone who can answer.

  • .Charles
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16 Apr 16 #476975 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
The terms and conditions under which your barrister acts will have been sent to your solicitor who can provide these to you.

If you provided a chunk of money to your solicitor which included payment towards barrister''s fees, your solicitor can use the money to discharge fees as they see fit. Any monies outstanding in relation to their bills (which will include barrister''s fees) can be recovered from you in debt recovery proceedings if you fail to pay.

If, however, you paid money specifically to cover barrister''s fees, those monies would be held for that purpose and should not be applied elsewhere.

It''s all academic really as whatever fees the solicitor incurs on your behalf are payable to the solicitor.

If your barrister poorly draft an order which required extra corrective work it seems reasonable to expect a discount but you will have to go through the complaints process.

Charles

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16 Apr 16 #476988 by Tiana
Reply from Tiana
Thank you Charles.
I did specifically say to my solicitor that the payment was to cover the barrister''s fee but they seem to help themselves to it without my prior authorisation.
My barrister was not contactable for weeks after the FH which caused a lot of grief and added cost from my solicitor.
Would it be reasonable to deduct my solicitor''s bill (£500) plus another amount (say £800) for long delay, stress... due to my barrister''s inability to draft the Order, and not communcating?
I called the Legal Obusman who mentioned they only have the power to recover up to £1,000.

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18 Apr 16 #477047 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
You cannot deduct your solicitor''s costs from your barrister''s bill - the two transactions are unlinked.

You can claim poor service and loss in order to reduce the amount that is due to your barrister.

I''m not sure where the information about the Legal Ombudsman came from unless you approached them a long time ago. There current guidance is at the following link:

www.legalombudsman.org.uk/?faqs=how-will-you-stay-in-touch

Charles

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18 Apr 16 #477053 by Tiana
Reply from Tiana
Thank you Charles.
Is the best way to complain officially through the Barrister''s Chambers? Or is it worth trying to contact him directly on his email address? (we did correspond directly by email on one occasion).

Do Barristers agree a reduction in their fee if there is overwhelming evidence of poor service or am I kidding myself thinking I might be able to get some financial redress?

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19 Apr 16 #477106 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
The chambers will have their own complaints procedure which you should follow. This will be detailed in their terms and conditions or on their website.

If there is poor service that is good reason for a reduction/refund.

Charles

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19 Apr 16 #477109 by Tiana
Reply from Tiana
Thank you .Charles. I will look into it.

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