Two-tier contracts delayed - Bar Council response

13 November 2015

Chairman of the Bar Alistair MacDonald QC said:"The Bar Council has always opposed the two-tier scheme and has consistently asked the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Aid Agency to re-consider these plans. We therefore welcome today's decision to postpone the implementation of the scheme in the light of the legal challenges which have been brought.

"The Bar Council continues to have serious concerns about the effects of dual contracting on solicitor colleagues.  We believe that these measures are likely seriously to damage access to justice and the provision of high quality advocacy services in England and Wales.

"The Bar Council will shortly submit its response to the consultation paper on enhancing the quality of criminal advocacy. Our response will urge the Government to introduce a panel scheme for defence advocates and to bring forward a replacement scheme for the AGFS as soon as possible, to give effect to Bar Council proposals submitted in the summer." 


Notes to Editors

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

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.

3. 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