Our Fees: How much do the services of DDS lawyers cost?
Doctors Defence Service lawyers will always give clear indications as to the likely fees payable for a particular stage of work or the whole case (where possible). Each of our medico-legal advisors is a qualified barrister (lawyer) and they will send you a personalised client care letter setting out their terms and fees, at the beginning of the professional relationship, unless the instruction comes via a solicitor.
Our lawyers charge hourly rates or fixed fees according to the nature of the work to be undertaken. Fees are commensurate with the experience and seniority of a particular lawyer, and the complexity and length of the piece of legal work to be undertaken. Our lawyers are highly experienced in legal matters relating to doctors. We often take less time than other, less experienced lawyers, due to our expertise and experience in the fields we cover.
A client care letter will always be sent to a client prior to any work being undertaken, if we are instructed on a direct publci access basis.
Initially, a Doctors Defence Service (DDS) lawyer will need to have a broad discussion with a doctor in order to be able to understand the case or legal issue that the doctor is seeking advice about, in order to assess the amount of likely legal work that will be needed. Initial ballpark figures are just that and a more accurate assessment of likely costs can usually be provided where the doctor sends relevant case papers to the DDS lawyer. DDS lawyers can provided during an initial discussion by telephone of up to 45 minutes a ballpark estimate of fees, where possible. For a more detailed assessment of the likely fees involved, the DDS lawyer will need to see the relevant case papers.
DDS lawyers can provide a verbal and/or written advice in most cases, following a short face-to-face conference and provide guidance on likely fees. Fixed fees are usually charged for conferences with specialist counsel, and for court or tribunal hearings.
OUR FEES IN MORE DETAIL, ALONG WITH COMPLIANCE INFORMATION
Our fees structure
Barristers fees are dependent on a number of factors, depending on the complexity of the issues, the seniority and experienced of the barrister, the specialism, the number of pages involved, the number of procedural steps that need to be taken, the location of the hearing, the number of days in court or tribunal, whether there is a solicitor involved or whether the case is on a direct access basis, among other things.
If you give us a call we will be able to provide you with quotes and guidance on likely future fees. We can quote for stages of work and in some instances provide a global fee quote. However, some cases will develop over time and it will be dependent on the requirements at each stage as to how many hours or days need to be spent on preparing a case or presenting a can in court.
Our hourly rates start at £150 for the most junior members of Chambers, rising to £500 an hour for more senior members of Chambers in some specialisms. The average fees charged per hour are £200 to £250 plus VAT.
Where possible we will provide a fixed fee for a piece of work. We usually charge fixed fees for conferences and hearings. It may be possible to charge fixed fees for other work, once we have scoped out what is needed. A first conference is often needed to go through the issues in the case to be able to provide more clear guidance or quotes.
A half day in court can be from £350 plus VAT upwards. A full day in court from £700 upwards. Five days representation in court will generally be in the region of £3,500 to £8,000, depending on the nature of the case and the seniority of the lawyer. For longer hearings we can often provide bespoke quotes.
VAT at 20% is additionally payable on our fees.
Some Examples (for guidance only, and does not necessarily include preparation, which will be dependent on the complexity of the case):
- Interim Orders Hearings: £750 to £2,200
- FTP Hearings One Day: £900 to £2,200
- Inquests One Day: £1,200 – £2,000
- One Day Hearings (crime, civil, common law) £900 to £3,500
- Regulatory Case Management Conference £350
- Consultations: £500 to £2,500 – Average £750
- Written Submissions: from £500
- Travel, Hotel and Subsistence Costs will also apply where a barrister has to travel
- Appeals to High Court from Regulatory Decision – £7000 to £15,000, generally, with an average of £12,000 but appeals can be much more expensive.
- Judicial Review (JR) £7000 to £25,000, generally, with an average of £12,000, but some JRs can cost more.
MORE ON OUR FEES FOR LEGAL SERVICES
Our lawyers are registered barristers, who are self employed and independent, who provide legal services in medical law and healthcare matters, as well as some common law areas. See our individual barristers’ profiles for specific details. We specialise in health and medical law, but this can encompass many areas of law, and we can appear in many courts and tribunals, including those of regulators, the magistrates courts, crown courts, civil courts: county and high courts, court of appeal and Supreme Court / Privy Council.
“Barristers in chambers specialise in civil and criminal law work, including regulatory matters.”
Our lawyers will always give clear indications as to the likely fees payble for a particular stage of work or the whole case (where possible).
Our lawyers charge hourly rates or fixed fees according to the nature of the work to be undertaken. Fees are commensurate with the experience and seniority of a particular lawyer, and the complexity and length of the piece of legal work to be undertaken. Our lawyers are highly experienced in legal matters relating to lay people, professionals, firms, limited companies, We often take less time than other, less experienced lawyers, due to our expertise and experience.
Lay Client Contracts – Client Care Letters
A client care letter will always be sent to a client prior to any work being undertaken.
Initially, a lawyer will need to have a broad discussion with a client in order to be able to understand the case or legal issue that the client is seeking advice about, in order to assess the amount of likely legal work that will be needed. Initial ballpark figures are just that and a more accurate assessment of likely costs can usually be provided where the client sends relevant case papers to the lawyer they intend to instruct. Our lawyers will provide, during an initial discussion by telephone of up to 45 minutes, a ballpark estimate of fees, where possible. For a more detailed assessment of the likely fees involved, our lawyer will need to see the relevant case papers to be able to identify and understand the issues and the work that needs to be done.
Our lawyers can provide a verbal and/or written advice in most cases, following a short face-to-face conference and provide guidance on likely fees. Fixed fees are usually charged for conferences with specialist counsel, and for court or tribunal hearings.
Instructions from Solicitors and Other Professional Lawyers
Our standard terms apply to such work.
Other Lawyers and Experts, and Disbursements
If you would like us to instruct another lawyer or QC to advise, there will be additional costs.
In some cases the client will need an expert opinion, and this will cost in the range of £750 plus VAT to £5,000 plus VAT on average for a written opinion. Experts charge additional fees for further work and for attendance at court. Each expert will have their own charging structure.
Fees for other parties (cost risks):
In some cases clients will be liable for the legal costs of the party that they are litigating against. Some regulators apply costs, while others do not. Another party might be directed to pay a party’s fees in some types of cases but this will be at the discretion of the courts. There are no guarantees that your own costs will be recovered and not all courts have costs systems.
Some clients may be entitled to legal aid if they are not working or they are on a low income but this usually applies to appeals and certain exceptional funding for medical law matters. Legal aid generally does not apply to regulatory tribunals. It might be available for regulatory appeals. We can discuss this with you. For more information on legal aid assistance for clients see the relevant FAQ.
Legal aid may be available for some criminal law matters.
We work with solicitors who have legal aid franchises.
See also the Legal Aid Commission website which has an eligibility calculator.
You might have an insurance product, domestic and residential, commercial or professional, that provides cover for some types of cases. You should look at the document and identify whether this is possible in the given legal specialism in which your case falls. We are content to look at such documents to assist, where requested. You should speak to your insurer or broker direct. Insurance cover is usually capped at a certain hourly rate and global limit. Many insurance products do not cover regulatory proceedings, regrettably.
We can provide some ballpark figures in many instances but each case will have a different level of complexity, different number of witnesses, a different page-count of evidence and exhibits, and varying lengths of hearings. It is therefore not possible to give specific quotes in all cases. However, we can often provide costs parameters. Except where the cab rank rule applies, we are not obligated to take on a case. In the event the cab rank applies, among other things, a suitable fee usually must be agreed before instructions are formally accepted.
No Win No Fee – Conditional Fee Arrangements
We generally do not provide legal services on this basis.
Variation in costs / Additional Costs / Unforeseen Costs
Costs can be affected by a number of factors, such as those matters mentioned above and below. Some clients need greater hand-holding and support, whereas some clients can undertake much of the legal work that is needed (with our support) so keeping the costs down. On occasions, courts or tribunals may run out of time on a day we attend, or the judge or tribunal may set timetables that affect the trial or hearings to such a degree that there will be additional costs.
Some legal cases will be more complex than others because of the needs of our own client or because of the conduct of other parties to a case.
Factors that can Increase Fees and affect Time-Scales of Delivery of Legal Services
- The seniority and experience of the barrister / lawyer
- The availability of Counsel
- Your availability
- The location the hearing and any ancillary costs such as travel costs, accommodation and subsistence.
- The area of law, evidence or procedure concerned, and its complexities
- The complexity of the case including any legal issues in the case and the amount of drafting and research that is needed.
- The volume of the legal and other paperwork involved affecting reading.
- The need for further documentation and the time it takes to obtain it from you or third parties.
- The approach of the regulator, courts, tribunals or the opposite party to the case or prosecuting authority, and the possible intervention of third parties.
- The estimated length of any court hearing, and any ongoing interim stages or appeals.
- Whether additional support is required from a second lawyer
- The amount of court forms and bundles that need to be drafted, served on other parties of filed with the courts
- The availability of court or tribunal time, and associated delays; court waiting times
- Other unforeseen events (by way of example the impact of Covid on the courts and legal services generally)
Transparency of Fees
We do our utmost best to be clear about likely fees. Except where fixed fees are agreed we can usually set out likely costs, at least in ballpark. The vagaries of court and tribunal life, and law generally, can lead to the occasional unexpected fees but thankfully this is relatively rare. Our aim is to seek to avoid surprises where possible.
Court Costs and Other Party Costs
Courts charge fees for lodging claims and these will be dependent on the nature and value of the claim. They can range from a few hundred to a few thousands of pounds. See the HMCTS guide to fees for more information.
Types of Work we Undertake
Our lawyers are common law lawyers who can undertake work in many legal specialisms related to healthcare. Our principle areas of work are related to the regulators of healthcare professionals, criminal matters, civil matters, and regulation generally. This list is not exhaustive.
If you choose to make an application or sue someone, there may be costs risks. If you fail to succeed in your claim you my have to pay another party’s costs.
Complaints are initially handled in-house by Chambers (in the first instance), and can be referred to the legal ombudsman for further consideration. The BSB liaises with the Legal Ombudsman. Here is the step by step guide to making a complaint about the fees we charge.
Step 1: If you have a complaint about the fees we have charged you should take the matter up with our clerks in the first instance.
Step 2: If you are not satisfied with the resolution, you should use our complaints policy.
Step 3: If you are unhappy with our complaint determination you can take the matter to the Legal Ombudsman.
See our complaints policy for more information about how to complain about the fees we charge, and for the contact details of the Legal Ombudsman.
See the Legal Ombudsman’s Decisions on lawyers generally. The legal ombudsman investigates complaints relating to the conduct of registered barristers and other regulated lawyers.
Complaints Time Limits:
You must complain to the Legal Ombudsman either within six years of a barrister’s actions/failure to act, or no later than three years after you should reasonably have known there were grounds to complain. You must also complain to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving your barrister’s final response to your complaint.
We are regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). You can confirm the practising status of barristers. See the: Barristers Register. You can also ask barristers for proof of identity. Beware of scams. People do masquerade as lawyers to steal monies and assets. Make sure you check their bona fides.
Direct Access Clients
For clients who use our services, we will send a bespoke client care letter setting out our terms and fees, along with a cancellation document and our complaints policy.
For information on instructing a barrister without a solciitor, which is entirely permissible where a barrister is a direct access barrister, see the BSB’s Guidance for Direct Access Clients.
We accept instructions from solicitors on behalf of clients and our clerks can discuss fees. Such solictors will speak to us about our fees, in most instances.
VAT is charged at the going rate, except where our barristers are not VAT registered. Their VAT number will appear on their client care letter and invoices, if it applies. For those overseas, without a substantial presence in the UK, VAT might not be payable. This needs to be formally agreed with evidence.
Timetable and Key Stages of Legal Proceedings
Regulators and courts lead the timetable in most instances. Cases can take a few months to a few years to resolve. For an understanding of the stages of regulatory hearings, see our various pages on legal process, under each relevant section (see the menu items for guidance or use our search facility). Covid-19 is delaying the resolutioon on many cases.
Use of Escrow Accounts
We will generally ask our clients to pay disbursements such as court fees and expert fees direct to that person or organisation. On occasions we might agree with a client to use an escrow account. Our clients will be reponsible for meeting the costs of any use of escrow accounts, which generally charge 1% to 3% of the monies transacted. These are ballpark figures as there may be additional fees or higher or lower percentages depending on the amount of money being transferred over a given period of time.
Our barristers carry indemnity insurance for the work they undertake. This is a minimum of £500,000, rising to £2.5 million for some of our barristers. Please check the indivdual barristers’ contracts (client care letters) or ask them for specific details. The barristers’ insurers are BMIF. We can provide details of our barristers’ insurance cover on request.
Our barristers are registered with the data protection commissioner and operate within data protection protocols (such as GDPR). See our data compliance page for more information.
The regulators of legal professionals have put together a website about the regulation of lawyers, and costs, which may be of use to you: Legal Choices
If you have a disability and would like us to make reaosmable adjustments to assist you in accessing our services, please contact us.
Our barristers are English speaking. Some have other language skills. Where an interpreter is needed, please let us know.
Barristers Chambers – Our staff
Our clerks will deal with day to day calls and administration of Chambers, and be responsible for billing. Our barristers will deal with the legal elements of your case. We often work with external lawyers as well, where a case requires it.
This information in Alternative Format
If you would like us to send you information about our services or the above information in alternative format, audio, large print, braille, or other format, please contact us.
The above information is not an offer to do work at the fees summarised. The details are for guidance purposes only.
For more information about Doctors Defence Service fees
For a clearer understanding of the fees that may be charged for legal services provided by DDS lawyers, call us without obligation and in strict confidence to discuss them, on: 0800 10 88 739
Doctors Defence Service