Orbis Public Law
Orbis Public Law
Orbis Public Law (OPL) is the partnership of Brighton & Hove City Council Legal Services, East Sussex County Council Legal Services and West Sussex County Council Legal Services. Through sharing best practice, joint training and streamlining processes, the partnership increases each Council’s resilience and capacity to support their clients and to provide an even more effective service.
What does Orbis Public Law do?
We undertake Legal work for Brighton & Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council and West Sussex County Council, as well as various other local government organisations and public bodies. Some work may be carried out across the partnership and as such a fee earner employed by one of the other Councils may be allocated to another Council’s matter.
Work is always undertaken by a fee earner (member of the legal team who can charge for work) with suitable experience and with appropriate supervision to ensure the quality of service. Before accepting instructions in relation to a matter, checks are conducted to prevent conflicts of interest occurring. There is also an ongoing requirement to consider whether a conflict of interest has arisen at any time after taking on a matter. Should a conflict be identified, a discussion will take place with the client to determine how it can be dealt with.
Unless it is routine advice work, at the commencement of any new matter, the client will always be informed who will have day to day conduct of their matter, their position and contact details. The client will also be informed who will have overall responsibility for their matter, usually the Principal or Senior Solicitor for the appropriate team.
Each partner Council will ensure that their staff maintain client confidentiality, have regular training so that they are suitably informed on developments in the law, applicable Council policies and practices and all other relevant matters in order to provide the most accurate and up to date legal service possible.
Please note that we cannot provide legal advice or services to members of the public.
If you are an existing client and wish to make an enquiry to Orbis Public Law, please feel free to contact the relevant lawyer directly (if known) or email us at:
Legally qualified staff are available in each partner authority between 9am and 5pm on each working day.
Reasonable adjustments policy
Each partner council in Orbis Public Law is committed to making such reasonable adjustments as may be requested in the context of the Equality Act 2010, in order to remove or reduce substantial disadvantage for disabled people receiving services. For the purposes of this policy the definition of disability follows that set out in the Equality Act 2010, s6.
This policy does not provide an exhaustive list of the reasonable adjustments that we will make for clients or other visitors. Examples of the types of adjustment that maybe made in appropriate cases are:
- provision of information in alternative formats, such as large print
- provision of auxiliary aids, such as induction loops
- provision of accessible conference room facilities.
Clients may request an adjustment by contacting the allocated lawyer. All requests for reasonable adjustments will be considered on a case by case basis with HR advice if necessary. Where it is not possible to make the adjustment requested a nominated manager will discuss viable options with the client.
Unless agreed otherwise in advance, each partner Council’s charges are calculated by reference to the time spent by their lawyers, paralegals and trainee solicitors in respect of any work which they do on your behalf. This will include:
- preparation for, attendance at and follow up from meetings
- reading and working on documents, correspondence, including emails
- time spent travelling from the office when this is necessary.
Time spent is calculated and charged in six minute units of time. Except for routine work, and wherever possible, the relevant partner Council shall provide you with an estimate of the time it will take to conclude a matter at its outset. In such cases they will also provide you with information on your available legal options and a cost to benefit analysis of these in any given matter. Once commenced, if a matter then appears to be taking longer than expected, we will inform you as soon as possible and provide you with a revised estimate together with the reasons why this has been necessary.
The hourly rate for you matter will be quoted on your acknowledgement email. These hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1 April each year.
Various other expenses (disbursements) may arise in respect of a matter, including court fees, experts’ fees, counsels’ fees and so on. We have no obligation to make such payments on your behalf unless you have provided us with funds for that purpose. VAT is also payable on certain expenses. These costs would be agreed with you in advance of being incurred.
An invoice for the time spent on your matters will be raised either quarterly or monthly in arrears. We are happy to discuss payments methods and instructions for payment will be included with each invoice.
You have 30 days from the date of each invoice in order to make your payment.