Main Barco Image

                       The Bar's own escrow account.

                        Insured. Secure. Trustworthy.

BARCO is a service launched by the Bar Council in 2013. At that time, no other small payments service (escrow provider) existed to cater for the self-employed Bar conducting direct access work or any other form of work which requires handling client money (fees paid in advance). BARCO was modelled after the French CARPA, a regulated payment services provider which, in France, caters for the whole legal profession. We have conducted a review of BARCO's feasibility as a service as part of a wider commercial review across all areas of the Bar Council's services and products.  

As it now stands, in July 2018, there are a number of providers in the market. Two in particular,  Shieldpay and Transpact, have been identified as suitable escrow providers for the self-employed Bar. Their terms of service have been reviewed for ethical compliance by a member of the Bar Council's Ethics Committee. In July 2018, the Bar Council's General Management Committee decided that BARCO can cease operations. BARCO has, since 2013, been largely subsidised by funds from training & events surplus and business partnerships, as the income from fees and charges has not matched the costs and expenditure incurred in delivering the service. Given the suitability of other providers, it is felt that it is no longer the best use of funds to continue operating the escrow.  

At the present time, the regulator, the Bar Standards Board, is aware of the cessation of BARCO operations. The Bar Council's Ethics Committee will revise the ethical guidance on handling client money in light of this development. The Bar Council's Policy team is also aware, so the ethics helpline staff will reflect this new set of circumstances on any requests for guidance relating to direct access and/or handling client money.

For more information please contact Michelle Moxon, BARCO Supervision and Compliance Manager.

 Bar Services Company Limited, trading as BARCO, is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom (Firm Reference Number [FRN]: 589580) to carry on payment services activities under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (PSRs). It is also registered with HM Revenue and Customs under the Money Laundering Regulations (MLR), MLR Registration Number: 12697968.