Evolve Family Law ‘entity’ turns to BARCO

7 December 2015

 

BARCO Logo

Evolve Family Law, which recently became a Bar Standards Board (BSB) entity, has opted to use BARCO, the Bar Council's third party escrow account. 

The firm called in the Bar Council to discuss BARCO after securing entity status from the Bar's regulator, the Bar Standards Board, in September. 

The BARCO service allows clients to pay for legal services safely without running the risk of their money being held in a client account. Funds are pooled into ring-fenced Barclays account and not released to lawyers from the BARCO account until they have completed the work for their client. All interest on the funds is returned to the client. 

There is a charge for lawyers to use the service which is 2% of the total cost of legal fees, and not 2% of the amount held in the account.   

Robin Charrot, director and co-founder of Evolve Family Law) said: "There are many advantages to being regulated by the Bar Standards Board rather than the SRA but one of the potential downsides is that we are unable to hold client money. Our initial understanding of BARCO was that it is an expensive way of holding client funds. However, we met with the Bar Council to find out more and I am glad we did. BARCO is not the expensive product we thought it was. We have subsequently signed up to it and are now able to offer our clients the security and reassurance of knowing that their money is being held by a trusted independent third party. Given that Evolve has a lot of international cases, a significant additional advantage of BARCO's service is their partnership with Currencies Direct. This enables our clients to pay our charges and any expenses for their case in their own currency."   

Paul Mosson, Director of Services at the Bar Council and a BARCO Director, said: "There is a lot of misinformation out there about BARCO. When we meet with barristers, entities and even solicitors' firms to discuss BARCO, it is clear they are under the impression that we charge 2% of the total amount held in the escrow account. The reality is that it is 2% of the legal fees, which will be considerably less. We were happy to put the record straight with Evolve Family Law. 

"While it was originally set up specifically to allow clients to pay direct access barristers for their services without breaching rules that prohibit barristers from handling client funds, it has had a wider appeal and purpose. We have seen it used as a kind of 'kitty' for large class action type cases, and we are getting enquiries from solicitors keen to use a more secure service than the traditional solicitor client accounts. 

"At the Bar at least, it gives barristers who are increasingly dealing with international clients greater freedom and peace of mind around payment for their services. It's making it easier for them to export their services." 

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Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 andPress@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.