BARCO open for business

Profession
The Bar’s new escrow service, BARCO, has been granted regulatory approval by the Financial Services Authority, enabling more clients to instruct barristers directly.


The FSA’s consent, announced last month, allows the service to be trialled before full roll-out in spring 2013. The test group of chambers, selected from across the country and a wide range of practice areas, includes: 2 Bedford Row; 33 Chancery Lane; Erskine Chambers; 39 Essex Street; St Johns Buildings, Manchester; St Johns Chambers, Bristol; Outer Temple Chambers; 37 Park Square, Leeds; and St Philips, Birmingham.

BARCO preserves the prohibition from handling client funds (Rule 407 of the Bar’s Code of Conduct) by providing a third party escrow account to receive funds electronically. The pooled segregated accounts will be operated by Barclays Bank for the term of legal services.

The service will be subject to obligations under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 and any approval process arising from the new Bar Standards Board Handbook.

During the trial, an administration charge of two per cent of barristers’ fees will be payable, capped at £250 per withdrawal. Interest will be returned to the clients.

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