PLEASE SEND INSTRUCTIONS BY EMAIL. It is fine to send the email directly to me. I always carry out a site visit (anywhere in England or Wales) before writing an Opinion and it is easier if the logistics of a site visit are arranged directly with me. When I receive your email I will acknowledge receipt and provide a fixed-fee quote. If the matter is of some urgency and an acknowledgement of receipt from me is not received fairly immediately you can contact my clerk to check my status.
Traditionally the Instructions to Counsel in paper form started with a formal heading for the case, followed by a numbered list of the documents accompanying it, and ended with a backsheet the purpose of which was to act like the cover of a book when the document was folded and tied with pink ribbon. When sending instructions by email, the Instructions to Counsel can be sent in this traditional format as a PDF attachment (no backsheet necessary) but it is equally acceptable if, instead, the email message itself is the Instructions to Counsel.
If the Instructions are a brief to represent the client at a hearing they will be accompanied by an eBundle consisting of a single large PDF containing the documents for the hearing in order, bookmarked, hyperlinked, and indexed in accordance with the directions given by the tribunal.
If, instead, Instructions are being sent at an earlier stage for advice or drafting they should be sent not in a large multi-document PDF but rather as individual documents attached to the email so that I can then arrange them in the most useful way for the task in hand.
PDFs attached to the email should have concise descriptive filenames such as Conveyance 26 Sep 1982.
If litigation is in progress and you are attaching numbered disclosure lists from the parties, please prefix the filenames of documents which appear on a disclosure list - for example R24 Conveyance 26 Sep 1982 if that document is number 24 on the Respondent's disclosure list. If a document is exhibited by a witness, please prefix its filename with the exhibit mark - for example JJS12 R24 Conveyance 26 Sep 1982. You can then refer to documents by number in the Instructions. If there is no litigation (or the disclosure stage of litigation has not yet been reached) and there are more than 10 documents attached it is helpful if they are numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. in some logical order.
Generally documents should be in PDF format but it is better if photos taken with a digital camera or phone are attached in their original JPG format including metadata.
Emails can be attached in MSG or EML format.
It is not necessary to list the documents in the Instructions as long as the attachments have concise descriptive filenames and the Instructions identify any additional documents to be considered which are not actually attached - e.g. Counsel has the documents attached to this email together with the documents previously provided in a ZIP file sent on 1 February 2023.
NOTE RE ANY PREVIOUS DIRECT ACCESS WORK. I carry out direct access work and, in order to save costs, my usual practice, with direct access work, is to identify, with the client at a conference, a sub-set of the documents they have which I need to consider when subsequently writing an Opinion so that they can then scan them in and send to me. I then provide a ZIP file containing this sub-set of documents to the client with the Opinion as a record of the documents the Opinion was based on. If you send me instructions on behalf of a client I have previously carried out direct access work for you can, if convenient, identify documents by referring to the ZIP file which accompanied the Opinion previously sent to the direct access client. It is not necessary to actually resend the identified documents in these circumstances, but of course you will want to consider afresh in the normal way what is the full set of documents which I need to take into account when carrying out the work in your instructions, as further developments and/or more detailed information you may have received from the client may mean that further documents the client has - beyond the sub-set of documents in the previous ZIP file - may also need to be considered: e.g. Counsel is asked to consider the documents in the ZIP file which accompanied Counsel's previous (direct access) Opinion dated [date] together with the further documents attached to these instructions.
TELEPHONE AND VIDEO CONFERENCING. I do not accept instructions for a telephone or video conference as I believe it is important that any conference is face to face and, as I always make a site visit, a conference can take place at the same time. With regard to hearings I prefer in-person hearings but, of course, will accept instructions to appear at video hearings if the tribunal has determined that the hearing is to be remote.