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How we work

How we work

We have no collective legal identity. Barristers and arbitrators conducting their practices from 20 Essex Street Chambers are  independent practitioners who share the costs of offices and administration, but not profits or liabilities. Barrister members often work with other barristers in teams. This offers the client many advantages:

  • complementary skills
  • diverse areas of expertise
  • varying degrees of experience
  • speed and efficiency of communication

It is not uncommon for a member of chambers to be involved in a matter where another member of chambers has been instructed or appointed by another party.


Fees may be charged on the basis of an agreed fee for particular work (for example, a brief fee for a hearing) or on the basis of an agreed hourly rate. Where fees are charged on the basis of an hourly rate, a six minute billing unit is employed. In accordance with the requirements of the BSB Handbook taking effect from 6 January 2014, fee notes show the time worked and hourly rate applied for all work undertaken on the basis of an agreed hourly rate after that date.

The Senior Clerks are willing to provide fee estimates.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing, all Instructions from Solicitors for the supply of Legal Services by a Barrister acting in that capacity are accepted on the 20 Essex Street General Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Solicitors in Commercial Matters, a copy of which may be found here.

The terms on which Instructions are accepted from parties other than Solicitors, and the varying terms upon which Members accept appointments to act as arbitrator or mediator, will be provided by the Senior Clerks or the Arbitrators' Assistant on request.

VAT identification numbers will be provided on request by the Senior Clerks.

Quality of service

Members of chambers take pride in providing a high quality and flexible service which responds to their clients' commercial needs. We will advise at short notice and travel within the United Kingdom or abroad to consult clients, to offer advice or to appear as advocates. The Senior Clerks can be contacted outside office hours and at weekends and will always seek to ensure that there is a barrister available to deal with urgent matters.

Instructing a Barrister

Barristers are normally instructed by other lawyers. In the United Kingdom, these are usually solicitors or employed barristers.  Some organisations and individuals are members of the Licensed Access scheme which is supervised by the Bar Standards Board and can instruct barristers either on their own behalf or on behalf of their clients.

Overseas lawyers may instruct barristers directly:

  • in any international arbitration, whether taking place in England or elsewhere 
  • in any proceedings outside the United Kingdom
  • to give legal advice

In certain circumstances, Barristers may also accept instructions directly from an overseas client. Please contact us and one of the senior clerks will be happy to explain how these rules operate.

Regulation of Barristers

Barristers called to the Bar of England and Wales are regulated by the Bar Standards Board. Their professional details are recorded in the Barristers' Register maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Particulars of other professional bodies or similar institutions with which members of chambers are registered will be provided by the Senior Clerks on request.

All self-employed barristers in independent practice in England and Wales must take primary layer professional indemnity insurance with Bar Mutual. The minimum limit of cover is £500,000. Bar Mutual provides cover for claims brought anywhere in the world (subject to the terms of cover).

Appointing an Arbitrator

Arbitrator appointments are handled by Arron Zitver with the support of the Arbitrators' Assistant.