Rachel Baker

Rachel joined Chambers in 2016, bringing with her a wealth of experience and a reputation for sound advice, diligence and skilled advocacy. She accepts instructions in general civil and criminal matters and undertakes publicly funded as well as private work.
Her civil practice encompasses contractual and commercial disputes as well as personal injury claims, housing matters and property disputes. Rachel is also a skilled criminal advocate and has wide experience in the criminal courts and is particularly good with youth and vulnerable clients.
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Rachel returned to the Bar in 2016 after a career break with her family. During her time away from legal practice she set up a business, taught law to undergraduate students and also assisted Sussex Police with their advocacy training programme. This broad range of experience both within and outside law practice is valued by instructing solicitors and clients alike who also appreciate her approachable demeanour and ability to “think outside the box”.

Rachel graduated with First Class Honours and was placed in the top 10% of her year on the Bar Vocational Course. She has a reputation for sound and practical advice, diligence and skilled advocacy, and since joining Becket Chambers has quickly re-established a busy practice.

Rachel’s legal career started at a leading civil and commercial set in London, after which she moved to a common law chambers where she was able to expand her areas of expertise and appear more regularly in court. After nine years at the independent Bar, she worked as in-house counsel for a time before taking a career break.

Rachel is known for her tenacity in court, her eye for the detail in a case and her determination to receive the best possible outcome for her clients. She appears in a wide range of hearings from applications at first instance to arguing points on appeal. Her experience in the criminal courts makes her a skilled and incisive cross-examiner.

She is adept at providing advice and in preparing pleadings, draft Orders and applications. Her firm belief in the need to give clear and accessible guidance to clients is reflected in her ability to distil complex information into practical written advice. Her attention to detail is evident in her paper work practice and her emphasis on client care is reflected in her efficient return of written work.

Rachel has a deserved reputation not only for her professional and thorough approach but also for her ability to make even the most nervous or vulnerable clients feel at ease. Her warm personality and experience of life away from the law makes it particularly easy for her to establish an excellent rapport with people of all backgrounds and this, coupled with her legal knowledge and skills, makes her a popular choice with both instructing solicitor and clients.

In addition to her busy practice Rachel remains an Associate Lecturer of law. She enjoys lives music, sports and spending time with her young family and chickens.

Contract and Commercial

Rachel’s practice sees her undertaking work on fast- and multi-track cases in a wide range of areas and at all stages of proceedings. She is able to provide written advice at the pre-issue stage; to draft pleadings and then to assist the client through to trial.

At all stages, Rachel’s pragmatic advice aims to encourage clients to get the best possible outcome and to avoid, if possible, the costs and stress involved in long-running litigation. She is able to act for clients both in formal mediation as well as in “door of the court” negotiations aimed at securing her clients a favourable outcome.

Rachel is regularly instructed by both Claimants and Defendants in a range of matters including breach of contract and non-performance claims and counterclaims, debt recovery, employment contract disputes and property-related issues including TOLATA claims and leasehold disputes. She is experienced in case management hearings including multi-track Costs and Case Management Conferences.

As part of Becket Chambers’ civil team, Rachel has provided seminars to solicitors on various aspects of civil litigation and will be delivering further training in 2019.

Rachel Baker's Contract and Commercial Cases

Contractual claim for online services

Rachel’s client was a large international company which had previously instructed her, and once again sought her advice and expertise. The client was facing a contractual claim from a user of one of its online services. There was an issue with regards to the identity of the contractual parties and Rachel’s client in any event Continue reading

Securing substantial damages and costs

Rachel acted for a client who had entrusted his prestige car to the Director of a company purporting to specialise in car sales. The agreement had been an oral one and so there was very little documentation to substantiate what Rachel’s client said had been agreed. Rachel’s client had not received the money due to Continue reading

Holiday sickness claim settlement without a court hearing

Rachel was instructed to represent the Claimant in a travel sickness claim against one of the UK’s largest tour operators. The matter had been listed for a full day’s fast track hearing, and the parties had been ordered to prepare skeleton arguments in readiness. Rachel’s thorough and persuasive skeleton argument was provided to the Defendant Continue reading

Articles by Rachel Baker

A variation to the law of variations: The Supreme Court gives judgment in Rock Advertising Ltd v MWB Business Exchange Centres Ltd

Summary: In a case of potential relevance to anyone entering into a written contract, the Supreme Court has recently held that oral variations to such a contract may well be invalid. The case has wide reaching implications and changes the approach previously adopted by the courts. In its Judgment in Rock Advertising Ltd v MWB Continue reading

Rachel Baker's Testimonials for Contract and Commercial

“The client rang later to say he was very pleased with how you dealt with the case, and they’d learned a lot from you”

Ms M from Solicitors instructing Rachel Baker – March 17

Personal Injury

Rachel’s personal injury practice covers a wide range of areas including fatal accident claims and inquests. She is regularly instructed on multi- and fast-track matters, and acts for insurance companies and local authorities as well as for Claimants.

Her practice includes the provision of written advice, including advice on quantum and liability. She is also able to settle pleadings including schedules of loss.

Her experience in the criminal courts means not only that she is particularly adept at cross-examining those suspected of fabricating claims but also that she has ample experience of dealing with vulnerable and traumatised witnesses and clients who need particular support during the litigation process and especially at trial.

Rachel is able to attend mediation with clients, and her pragmatic approach means that she is keen to provide to support in situations where a negotiated settlement is the preferable outcome for her client.

Rachel has also been instructed to act for applicants to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme for compensation for injuries suffered as a result of violent crime.

Rachel accepts instructions on a Conditional Fee basis.

Rachel Baker's Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury trial involving multiple medical experts

Rachel was instructed on behalf of the Defendant in a three-day multi-track personal injury trial where a total of six medical experts had been instructed, two of whom gave oral evidence at trial. After Rachel’s expert cross-examination of the Claimant and their medical expert, quantum was agreed on the Claimant’s behalf in the sum of Continue reading

Successful Limitation of Claim for Medical Expenses

Rachel acted for the Defendant at the Stage 3 Ministry of Justice hearing of a personal injury matter. Rachel successfully argued that, despite documentary evidence that the Claimant had undergone the number of physiotherapy sessions recommended by a medical expert, the special damages awarded should be limited to the cost of around one third of Continue reading

Articles by Rachel Baker

Fundamental Dishonesty; Clarity from the Courts

Although now a fact of life for personal injury lawyers since its introduction in April 2013, one aspect of QOCS (Qualified One Way Costs Shifting) has given rise to uncertainty: namely the thorny issue of how “fundamental dishonesty” is defined and how the term also applies to the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (“CJCA”).   Continue reading

Property & Land Law

Rachel is experienced in acting for both sides in parties in disputes about the possession of property, including mortgage possession actions and Landlord claims for possession. Rachel has been instructed by private individuals, financial organisations, Local Authorities and also charities.

Rachel also accepts instructions regarding disputes arising from interest in land including TOLATA claims and boundary disputes. She has acted in a number of cases involving injunctions between neighbours arising out of property disputes.

In addition, she has appeared regularly in proceedings regarding allegations of anti-social behaviour in social housing, both for and against the housing provider.

Rachel is adept at dealing calmly and effectively with clients and individuals who may be under a great deal of stress, and her robust yet sensitive approach is of particular value in many cases involving property disputes.

Always alive to the stress and personal cost of litigation, particularly in neighbour disputes, Rachel will advise clients on how best to avoid ongoing litigation (if appropriate), and is able to attend mediation and negotiation meetings in order to seek as amicable a resolution as possible.

Rachel Baker's Property & Land Law Cases

Successful mediation resolution to right of way dispute

Rachel attended mediation on behalf of her clients in a long-running dispute related to a right of way and access to her clients’ property. There were a number of issues to deal with, including assertions of adverse possession, nuisance and trespass. The mediation was successful, and both the clients and the mediator contacted Rachel afterwards Continue reading

Securing possession and costs

Rachel’s elderly client had purchased a buy to let property as an investment and was reliant on the income received from it to supplement his pension. His tenants had stopped paying rent, had built up substantial arrears and caused damage. A possession claim was commenced but allegations of disrepair were raised by the tenants. However, Continue reading

Articles by Rachel Baker

A Licence for Alms

The Court of Appeal has recently given its decision in the case of Watts v Stewart [2016] EWCA Civ 1247, and in so doing has provided a useful reminder of the distinction to be drawn between a lease and a licence.  The case is also a restatement of the Street v Mountford principle that the Continue reading