Fountain Chambers

Progressive barristers in the North-East of England

Welcome

Offices in Middlesbrough and Newcastle

Although our administrative team are based at our offices in the Cleveland Business Centre, Middlesbrough, we are also able to offer conferencing facilities at our Newcastle Upon Tyne Office in Clavering House which is a conveniently placed short walk to Newcastle Combined Court Centre.

Our Barristers Work Across All Areas

It was 50 years ago that Fountain Chambers was founded by Geoffrey Davey with rooms in Baker Street. As Chambers’ expanded we moved into the Cleveland Business Centre in 1992. Over the years Chambers has adapted to the changing needs of our local community and areas of practice have evolved to meet growing demand. From a predominantly criminal set we now have strong teams across all levels of seniority in both criminal law and family.

Appointed to Judicial Office

We are proud that a number of our previous members have been appointed to judicial office and are well known to local practitioners: His Honour Judge Tony Briggs, His Honour Judge Leslie Spittle, His Honour Judge Peter Armstrong, His Honour Judge Stephen Ashurst (the former Recorder of York) and Her Honour Judge Deborah Sherwin. His Honour Judge Briggs and His Honour Judge Armstrong previously served as Heads of Chambers. A number of members of Chambers also sit as part-time judges both at District Judge and Recorder level.

In addition we also count the first two silks to be appointed out of Teesside amongst our members and heads of Chambers: Tim Roberts, Q.C. (now retired) and Jamie Hill, Q.C.

Collette Price Head of Chambers

In 2020 Jamie Hill Q.C. fulfilled his term as Head of Chambers and Collette Price was appointed. She is the first female head of Chambers and the first family practitioner to be elected.

Dedicated to Providing a Friendly High Quality Service

We are dedicated to providing a friendly, high quality service to solicitors, individuals, unions, businesses, and local and national government departments. We remain committed to evolving the way we practice to ensure that we continue to meet the changing demands of the legal landscape, keeping our roots at the heart of our local community.

Latest News Items

Covid-19 Arrangements

During the ongoing uncertainties we remain committed to doing our best to try and protect members of Chambers and the public as much as possible. Although some of our clerking team are returning to the office others remain working from home. We are now able to offer appointments in Chambers where appropriate but will do so by appointment, in advance. Visitors are requested to work masks (unless exempt) whilst in Chambers.

Members of Chambers continue to attend court hearings by telephone, video link, or in person, as required. We wish to stress that each member of Chambers is available to conduct conferences by video link or by telephone and that we are happy to receive instructions by email. Our barristers use a variety of video conferencing methods including Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Our clerks can still be contacted on the usual numbers and email addresses – although given our current hybrid working they may not be able to answer every call immediately. Please send them an email if you can’t get through straight away and they will return your call.

We will be happy to help clients, where we can, with accessing technology to attend hearings.

 

Our Services

If you would like us to undertake work for you please contact the clerks who will be able to assist (their contact details can be found in the ‘contact us’ section). They will be able to advise you about the specialities, experience and availability of members of Chambers. If you wish to instruct a particular barrister please let them know when you get in touch. They will also be able to provide you with an idea of the fee likely to be incurred in your circumstances

Our Commitment to Improving Diversity

Our Equality and Diversity Policy sets out how we will deliver on our commitment to be part of improving diversity and inclusion at the Bar and in our workforce. It is relevant to anyone who uses our services or works with us – including members of the public, prospective barristers, practising barriers and our staff. We are committed to ensuring that our services are accessible to everyone.

Practice Areas

Chambers’ has strong family and criminal / regulatory teams and a number of individuals who also deal with civil claims.

The clerks will be able to advise you once they understand more about your case. If you would like further information about the work done by the different teams please look at the dedicated pages on this website which add detail.

Whilst Chambers consists of a number of people working from the same place we are all individuals and self-employed. Some members of Chambers are also authorised to undertake public access work. This means that they can accept instructions directly from members of the public without the need to also use a solicitor. Those members of Chambers who offer this service refer to it in their profile and more information about how it works is available from the Bar Standards Board (external link opens in new tab or window).

Dates & Time Scales

If your case already has a court date please tell the clerks when you speak to them. This will ensure that those dates can be put into the barrister’s diary to make sure they are available for them. If you are looking for advice by having a meeting in person the clerks will be able to provide you with a date on which that meeting can take place. If you wish to receive advice in writing members of Chambers are normally able to provide that within 21 days but it may be longer depending on the complexity of the case, the amount of documentation they need to review and their other commitments. This will be discussed with you at the time you provide instructions. There is also more information about fees on the Public Access page of this website. Work will not begin on your case until a member of Chambers has agreed to accept the instructions and an agreement has been reached about fees.

Costs & Legal Aid

All members of Chambers undertake publicly funded work. If you are not eligible for public funding (and you can check your eligibility using the government’s website then the fee charged will depend on the seniority of the barrister you choose as well as the complexity of the proceedings. Normally a fee will be agreed in advance for any hearing or piece of work on a ‘fixed fee’ basis. In other words the amount you will pay will be agreed in advance and will not change unless the case takes longer than originally planned. There are circumstances in which agreeing an hourly rate will be more appropriate and the clerks will be able to assist with further details. Members of Chambers are registered for VAT and VAT numbers can be provided on request to clients.

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board

Chambers and each of our barristers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board. You can find out more information about the work of the Bar Standards Board and what you can expect from your barrister here   including searching the BSB’s register of barristers. The BSB’s register allows you to check that your barrister has a current practising certificate if you wish to do so. All members of Chambers maintain professional indemnity insurance (which is renewed annually) and are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Information about how we process your data can be found in the ‘quick links’ below

How to Complain

We hope that you will be completely satisfied with the service we provide. If you are not we would invite you to speak to your barrister directly first of all. If, however, you do wish to complain then our complaints policy can be found on our website and you also have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman  if you are unhappy with our final response to a complaint you have made to us; such a complaint must be made within 6 months of receiving our final response. The legal ombudsman has strict timescales and you should check that their website to make sure you comply with any requirements. It is normally individuals, small business and charities who have the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman but a full list of those entitled to use the service is available on their website. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman at: “Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ”, enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk or 0300 555 0333. You can review decisions made by the Legal Ombudsman over the last 12 months here.

This information allows you to see whether any of our barristers have received a decision from the Legal Ombudsman and whether any remedy was provided.