We have two types of advocate; a standard advocate (equivalent to a clerk or paralegal) or a post-qualified advocate (who will be either a solicitor or barrister). A standard advocate will have completed the Legal Practice Course, The Bar Vocational Course or the Bar Professional Training Course, or be a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and will have successfully completed our own assessment and induction programmes. A post qualified advocate will have also completed either a training contract or pupillage and have a practicing certificate.
All county court hearings are either heard in chambers (the Judge’s room) or in open court. All our advocates are qualified to attend hearings in chambers. If the hearing is in open court you will need a post qualified advocate. We will advise you if this is the case but, either way, you can choose for a post qualified advocate to represent you.
If you have a small claims hearing and you are going to be in attendance then you can instruct a standard advocate. If you are not going to be in attendance you will need to instruct a post qualified advocate.
What is the process?
Upon receiving your instruction and provided we have received your papers, we will allocate an advocate 5 working days before the hearing. The advocate will call you on the day before the hearing to confirm their instructions and after the hearing to provide you with the outcome (if you do not attend on the day). The advocate will arrive at court 30 minutes before the hearing time to allow time to have a brief conference with you and/or the other side. The advocate will then write a detailed report which will be provided to you the following day. Whilst attendance can be arranged at shorter notice, we would always advise instructing us at the earliest opportunity.
What papers do we need?
We will need a copy of all relevant papers in relation to your claim and a letter of instruction in order to represent you at the hearing. Your papers should include all the paperwork in relation to the claim including (but not limited to) all court documents (e.g. notice of hearing), the claim form (and particulars of claim), defence, directions questionnaire, witness statements and any correspondence between you and the other side, contracts etc. We will need you to provide these documents at least 5 working days before the hearing.
Your letter of instruction should confirm the following:
The parties’ names
The date, time and location of the Hearing (this is contained in the Notice of Hearing referred to above)
The type of Hearing
A list of the enclosures in the bundle of paperwork you are sending including witness statements
A brief background to the claim
Your instructions (including any request for costs).
Who to contact if something arises at Court (if you are not going to be in attendance).
What is the fee?
In order for us to quote you the correct fee you will need to confirm what type of hearing, the value of your claim and how long your hearing has been listed for. This is the basis upon which the fee is calculated. This information is usually detailed in the Notice of Hearing which the Court will have sent you. Our latest fee card can be found here. In the event that the hearing type is different to the one advised, we reserve the right to amend our fee to reflect the actual hearing type.