New Terms of Engagement for barristers
2 August 2012
On the 27 July, the Legal Services Board consented to a change
in the Cab Rank Rule of the Bar Code of Conduct to replace the
current Terms of Work with new standard contractual terms.
The practical effect of the changes are detailed below.
The Terms of Work on which barristers offer their services to
solicitors and the Withdrawal of Credit scheme (the most common
basis of instruction), as reproduced in Annexe G1 of the current
Code of Conduct, together with the contractual version of those
Terms at Annexe G2, will be abolished.
These terms will be replaced in the Code by the "Standard
Conditions of Contract for the Supply of Legal Services by
Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012".
The Cab Rank Rule will be amended so that, instead of applying
to the Terms of Work referred in point 1 above, it will apply to
the new Standard Conditions of Contract AND to the terms which the
barrister or his chambers have published as the barrister's
standard terms. The usual exceptions to Cab Rank Rule will
continue to apply e.g. not being available, being professionally
The new Standard Conditions of Contract have been drawn up so
that they apply not just to solicitors but also to all "Authorised
Persons", which here refers to persons/bodies authorised by the Law
Society/Solicitors Regulation Authority under paragraph 18(1)(a) of
the Legal Services Act 2007.
The new Standard Conditions will NOT operate as
Barristers are still free in any individual case to agree
different terms or, if they wish, to agree to no terms, and may
amend the new Standard Conditions of Contract (subject of course to
the Bar Code of Conduct obligations).
The Withdrawal of Credit List will be replaced by an advisory
List of Defaulting Solicitors. The effect of this is that it
will no longer be a Code of Conduct requirement to refuse work on
credit from solicitors named on the Withdrawal of Credit
List. Instead, a barrister will have the right, under the
amended Cab Rank Rule, to refuse instructions on credit from
solicitors named on that List if he so wishes. However, the
advisory List of Defaulting Solicitors will apply only to
The complaints procedure for the List of Defaulting Solicitors
will be very similar to the present Withdrawal of Credit Scheme,
except that complaints to the Bar Council can only be made in
respect of non-payment of joint tribunal awards or where judgment
has been given for unpaid fees arising from work carried out under
the new Standard Conditions of Contract.
Under transitional arrangements, the solicitors named in the
Withdrawal of Credit List will be transferred to the List of
Defaulting Solicitors. Although the current Terms of Work
will no longer exist when this change takes effect, complaints can
continued to be made to the Bar Council in respect of work that had
been carried out under those Terms of Work.
It is anticipated that these changes will be put into effect at
the end of October 2012, but further information will be issued to
the Bar, together with guidance. The
Standard Conditions and changes to the Code of
Conduct can be found on the Bar Council website or can be
accessed by clicking the links above.
For further information, please contact Janice Marshall by
email or by telephone: 020 7611 1375.