Attorney General’s panel counsel: practical information
Fee notes for work done by panel counsel
Please submit your invoices in the form of monthly (or any discrete period) fee notes, showing:
- a case breakdown
- the relevant hourly rate
- the number of hours worked
- the number of hours travelling and not working (paid at half the hourly rate)
Please note that rolling fee notes, duplicate fee notes, ‘brief fees’ and ‘refreshers’ are not acceptable.
It is important that your fee notes do not contain additional information that could compromise our cases and reputation if the fee note were to go astray. Send the fee note to:
TSol: Case-Related invoices
PO Box 1936
It is very important that only fee notes and invoices are sent to the Andover address. All other correspondence - but not case papers - must be sent to the Treasury Solicitor’s Department (TSol) at One Kemble Street.
You can submit fee notes electronically, but only in PDF format, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Software to convert documents to PDF format is freely available for download from the internet but if your clerk would like some assistance, please contact email@example.com
If you have any problems producing fee notes please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have submitted a fee note but have not been paid, please send an email to email@example.com and one of the finance team will contact you to explain what is causing the delay in payment and when you can expect to be paid. Do not send a duplicate fee note.
Payment by BACS
BACS payments will save public money and arrive more quickly in the relevant bank account. Your clerk will receive confirmation of payment. If you would like to be paid by BACS, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Serena Johnson on 020 7210 3068.
London panel counsel
*London A panel - £120 per hour *London B panel - £100 per hour *London C panel - £80 per hour if over 5 years call. £60 per hour if under 5 years call.
The rate of pay rises if/when you are promoted from C panel to B panel, or from B to A. The change in rate is immediate.
Regional panel rates
*Ten years’ or more experience £110 per hour *Over 5 years’ experience but under 10 £90 *Under 5 years’ experience £60
PIL panel rates
These are the same as the three London panel rates.
Off panel juniors and baby barristers
Off panel junior counsel are paid at panel rates.
*Baby barristers (2nd six pupils): £25 per hour or £125 per day *Baby barristers (tenants): £45 per hour *Baby barristers (3rd six pupils): £45 per hour
Rates for QCs (silks)
Where an A panel member takes silk, they can continue to act in cases where they have already been instructed without the need for a nomination for a period of 12 months. They will do so at existing A panel rates.
As a general rule when counsel take silk (and are doing work for which a nomination is required ie work they did not start as A panel) they are paid at the rate of £180 per hour for the first 12 months. Other silks are generally paid at an agreed rate between £180 and £250 per hour. It is open to QCs to agree a lower rate and some have done so.
Where an increase in the hourly rate is agreed, this will normally apply to all work (including existing work) carried out after a specified date. Clerks should, however (unless the number of cases renders this impracticable) discuss the effects of the increase with the case holder.
Fixed fees for permission hearings
There is a fixed fee of £350 plus VAT for permission hearings in immigration judicial review proceedings.
The decision to pay a fixed fee rather than pay strictly according to the hourly rate reflects the ’swings and roundabouts’ nature of oral hearings in permission applications. The fee takes into account the average preparation time for a case in which there is usually an AOS (setting out the defendant’s arguments) and the fact that counsel for the defendant Secretary of State is not always called upon to speak. TSol will pay for cases which are withdrawn within 24 hours of the hearing as it is reasonable to expect you to have read into the case within that period and incur some charges.
On cases that are adjourned on the day, TSol will pay the standard fee for that first adjourned hearing and then pay half the full standard fee for any relisted hearing.
Clearly if the case is out of the ordinary, for example, the judge asks for a skeleton then TSol will reconsider and be prepared to pay more.
Travel, overnight accommodation and subsistence
When you are required to travel away from your normal area of work, travel claims are payable from home to the temporary place of work. TSol will not reimburse London counsel for travel within the M25.
When booking any sort of ticket you should avoid open ‘anytime’ or ‘fully flexible’ tickets. First class travel will only be reimbursed in special circumstances, for example, reasons of security.
TSol do not pay a daily subsistence rate and will not reimburse expenses for food or drink. However, TSol will consider reimbursement for evening meals when an overnight stay is necessary.
You should always discuss potential expenses with the case holder in advance.
TSol will not provide references in cases where counsel wish to be promoted in a commercial forum (ie Legal 500). However, with chambers increasingly bidding for public sector contracts where references are required TSol are prepared to provide a factual reference about the work done.
It is appropriate for individual lawyers to provide references for panel counsel.
TSol will give references for QC appointments and judicial appointments.
It has been agreed with the QC Appointments Commission that, where you name a government lawyer as an assessor, so far as possible, the assessment will be considered by the relevant head of division (or equivalent) to whom the assessor reports. This is to ensure balance and consistency in the references provided by government lawyers.
The reference may in fact still be prepared by the government lawyer asked to be an assessor, in consultation with their colleagues and after consideration by the head of division, signed by that government lawyer.
Alternatively the assessment may actually be given by the head of division in consultation with their colleagues. You should therefore try to avoid naming more than one government lawyer in the same team or division as you may end up with a single reference rather than two.
TSol monitor counsel according to a 3 box system:
- Significantly above requirements
- Fully met requirements
- Below requirements
Most box 3 marks tend to be given for tardy dealing with papers. If you are going to have problems doing something in time tell the case holder as soon as possible.
The results are used to report in general terms to the Attorney General on the performance and usage of all members of panels; they are also used for informing future selection boards and the Attorney General in considering applications for extensions of appointments and promotions.
Although appointment to any panel does not guarantee that work will be available, the intention is that counsel is given at least a minimum amount of work.
The volume of work counsel receive will be monitored alongside their performance. If you want more work either because you feel you are being overlooked or because a trial has collapsed and you are unexpectedly free then you should contact email@example.com
Security of papers, email and data
Arrangements for collecting papers to go to TSol
Papers going between TSol and chambers must go by hand, government car, DX or DHL. Please ensure that papers are clearly addressed. Do not put papers relating to different cases in the same envelope or box.
Chambers should contact the case holder at TSol to book a DHL courier.
It is vital that panel counsel safeguard information entrusted to them.
Common security arrangements across civil litigating departments, the CPS and Whitehall prosecutors have been negotiated with the Bar Council. For further advice see theand the guide to .
The Criminal Justice Secure Mail System (CJSM) is a free, relatively secure email system that TSol are encouraging all London and regional panels to sign up to. Although originally set up for criminal work, it is now available for the Attorney General’s civil panels.
Those using CJSM may from time to time receive communications referring to use only for criminal matters, please ignore these. For more information on CJSM see theand .
Panel counsel must remember that encryption is very important and should read the.
Electronic storage of counsel’s opinions etc
TSol may store your opinions and other material on electronic systems to help in knowledge management. TSol appreciate the Bar’s concerns over the following matters:
- breach of confidence
- breach of implied undertakings
- liability for negligence and insurance
A number of concerns fall away because the client is, in the majority of cases, part of that same indivisible body known as ’the Crown‘. If you have any concerns about any particular document then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Chambers are increasingly bidding for the Public Sector contracts where references are required. In such circumstances TSol is prepared to provide factual reference about the work done.
Settlements in Court of Appeal
This guidance is particularly relevant to immigration work. The government is the Court of Appeal’s largest customer and consequently TSol are being asked to help the Civil Appeals Office ensure the best use of the Court of Appeal’s time. As part of this, efforts are being made to reduce the number of late settlements, particularly in the immigration cases that form such a large part of the Court’s work.
The important point to note is that for these purposes the Court of Appeal regards any case that settles within 3 weeks of the hearing date as a late settlement. This is the point at which the judges will often start reading the papers.
If a case settles within 3 weeks of the hearing date then both parties can expect a letter from the Civil Appeals Office asking for an explanation.
In order to assist in this, you should give the skeleton to TSol at least 7 weeks before the hearing date. This will give TSol the opportunity to finalise any settlement with the other side at least 3 weeks before the hearing.
Unless you advise that it is a case where the Secretary of State should concede you should produce the skeleton at the same time as you produce the initial advice.
Chambers’ complaints procedures
In many cases, given the nature of the Crown there will be no difference in legal personality between those instructing counsel and the rest of the departmental client. Therefore, there is no need for you to notify TSol of your chambers’ complaints procedure or other matters referred to in the Bar Standards Board guidance - provided the information can be found on the chambers’ website. As and when necessary TSol will pass details of those procedures to the relevant person.
The exception to this is where TSol are acting on behalf of, and you are representing, a private individual such as a prison officer or a soldier. In such cases you should send TSol whatever you would normally send to a client and TSol will forward it on.
New standard contractual terms
The new terms replaced the ‘Terms of work on which barristers offer their services to solicitors’ and the ‘Withdrawal of Credit Scheme 1988’. Neither of these documents have impinged much, if at all on panel work.
The new standard contractual terms apply for the purposes of “…the supply of legal services by barristers to authorised persons.” but the Treasury Solicitor and the solicitors to other public departments are not in fact “authorised persons” for the purposes of section 18(1)(a) of the Legal Services Act 2007. They stand in a special category position essentially untouched by the Act.
The relationship between the Treasury Solicitor and barristers will continue to be governed by the long standing arrangements relating to the Attorney General’s panel of counsel which have operated over a long period.
If you have any queries about the non applicability of the new standards terms please contact email@example.com
Government transparency data
TSol publishes details of all payment transactions over £25,000.
The data published includes payments to counsel. As the policy currently stands only payments over £25,000 made in a single month in respect of a single case will be included. VAT registration numbers are not given.
TSol has a programme of meeting clerks from larger sets of chambers each year.
If you want to meet those in TSol responsible for managing your civil panels, irrespective of the size of chambers or the number of panel counsel in it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
It is possible to apply to extend the 5 year period of panel membership because of maternity leave or other periods of time when the panel member is unable to undertake advocacy. If you wish to discuss this then please contact email@example.com