Bar Council comments on BSB authorisation to regulate entities

4 December 2014

Responding to the Bar Standard Board's (BSB) authorisation by the Legal Services Board (LSB) to become a regulator of entities,Stephen Crowne, chief executive of the Bar Council, said: "This is a major step forward for the Bar, the legal sector and how the public access legal services. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. For those members of the Bar considering forming a new entity to deliver their advocacy services, it won't happen overnight and I recommend that barristers carefully consider their business needs, the regulatory requirements, and consult with the BSB before taking the next step towards this new business model. 

"In anticipation of this new development, the Bar Council is soon to publish support materials, providing information to help our members make an informed decision as to whether providing legal services through a regulated entity is suitable for them. It will also include 'how to' information on becoming a regulated entity." 

BARCO 

The Bar Council points out that the Bar's escrow service, BARCO, which allows barristers to receive funds from clients, will act as a major boost to a BSB-regulated entity. Stephen Crowne said: "Without BARCO, BSB-regulated entities may find handling client money a potentially costly stumbling block. BARCO will provide those entities with a cost effective alternative to handling client money. Because BARCO is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and fully insured, it will be a valuable tool for new entities and give them peace of mind as they adapt to a new way of working." 

BARCO operates an escrow service to receive funds from clients, which are required in relation to on-going legal services for legal fees, alternative dispute resolution costs, disbursements and settlements. 

All funds received by BARCO remain in pooled segregated bank accounts for the term of the legal services. Barclays Bank has been engaged by BARCO to provide a safe, segregated account. 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

2. The  Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes:

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board