These changes, which will need to be approved by the Legal Services Board, could see barristers, among other things, working in partnership with other lawyers, or forming specialist procurement companies through which to deliver their services on a cost-effective basis.

Mr Green said:

‘One of the clear messages I am receiving from members of the Bar is that barristers recognise that they need to adapt and modernise in order to keep pace with changes in the legal services market.

All the events we have organised have been over-subscribed and we put on more to meet demand. All the evidence demonstrates that, while there are natural concerns about the future, the profession is showing itself to be curious, adaptive and resilient when it comes to embracing change. A significant number of chambers have developed plans to change their practice arrangements to take advantage of the new opportunities heralded by the Legal Services Act and to enable them to compete effectively with other service providers.’

He added:

‘The Bar has major advantages in terms of quality and cost. Barristers have a great opportunity because they are both specialised in advocacy and advice, and often in particular areas of law. At the same time, because of chambers’ significantly lower overheads, barristers’ services are considerably cheaper than those of solicitors.

There is also an excellent opportunity for clients and consumers to benefit from the expert services of the Bar in different ways and at less cost. This will provide an important response to the recent review of costs in civil justice, by Lord Justice Jackson, which warned of the need to reduce the cost of going to court.’