Future for LDPs still on hold

Barristers will find out in November if they can become managers or shareholders of Legal Disciplinary Practices (“LDPs”).
By then, the Bar Standards Board (“BSB”) will have analysed further research it commissioned into the regulatory implications of the new structures, which are being introduced under the Legal Services Act 2007.

It will decide whether barristers can be managers of LDPs, and what restrictions should apply; whether barristers can be shareholders; whether barristers can be both managers of LDPs and independent practitioners; whether barrister-only partnerships will be allowed; and whether barristers can practise through barrister-only companies and LLPs.

The BSB will then consult further on whether it should become a regulator of the new business structures, looking at the cost implications and the likely take-up by barristers. A Legal Services Board (“LSB”) spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on hypothetical questions, but nobody should be in any doubt about our commitment to the statutory objective of encouraging competition, which also bites on the Bar Council.  “Removing anti-competitive restrictions, which fetter the creativity of barristers and chambers seems to us central in achieving that.”