Southend on Sea Borough Council

John Williams, Head of Legal and Democratic Services

Southend on Sea Borough Council makes significant use of Counsel, particularly in child care proceedings.

In every case the Council’s instructing lawyer enters details into First Law's Counsel Database of the proposed work and seniority of the barrister required: A range of barristers and prices is immediately presented. The Council lawyer uses this information to contact the chamber of choice to engage the barrister required at the price quoted, or at a cheaper price (using the database information to negotiate).

The Council is therefore able to achieve best value for money, without compromising on the quality of the barrister, or removing choice over barrister selection. No longer is the Council lawyer placed in the difficult position of trying to negotiate a fee with a Clerk without detailed information about the bottom line figure, or what other chambers will charge. Negotiation is now from a position of strength, making the whole process simpler, faster and resulting in significant cost savings.