Preparation of a Brief
Once availability has been confirmed, but before a formal brief is delivered, it will usually be convenient for the instructing solicitor to discuss with counsel –
- Potential conflicts of interest that may present difficulties in accepting the brief;
- The broad parameters of the proposed brief, including urgency and the degree of time commitment sought from the barrister;
- Confirmation of how the barrister’s advice is to be presented, or how the matter is to proceed;
- Estimated commencement and completion date;
- Fees and any particular fee arrangements (see also “Fees”).
The barrister will then need to be supplied with a formal brief of materials which will comprise all information relevant to the matter including:
- Names of all relevant parties;
- Synopsis of facts and issues;
- Copies of all relevant documents, including Court pleadings, correspondence, witness statements, affidavits and statutory declarations;
- Particular questions requiring answers.
Other matters which might usefully be included in the materials will vary from case to case, and should be discussed.
Whether the brief is in hard copy or delivered electronically (or some combination) should be discussed with the barrister.
The utility of the brief prepared for the barrister by the instructing solicitors (including care and attention to detail and intellectual engagement of the main issues) can have a significant affect on the fees charged.