New contractual terms for barristers

The Cab Rank Rule in the Bar Code of Conduct was amended on the 31 January 2013 so that it applies to instructions offered on the basis of new Contractual Terms or the barrister’s own published terms of engagement. On the same day, the commonly used terms of engagement for barristers taking instructions from solicitors, namely the Terms of Work and the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme (in Annexe G1 and G2 of the Bar Code of Conduct) were abolished.


The new Standard Terms can be found on the Bar Council’s website under www.barcouncil.org.uk/ standardcontractualterms and the Bar Council’s Guide to these changes can be found at www. barcouncil.org.uk/guidetocontractualterms

The new Contractual Terms are for use for instructions from solicitors and all persons / bodies authorised by the SRA to carry out legal services under the Legal Services Act 2007. The Terms enable barristers to sue for unpaid fees and have been drafted for use in privately funded matters or matters where the barrister is not paid directly by the Legal Services Commission or the Crown Prosecution Service. The new Contractual Terms would only apply to Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) cases if the CFA incorporate these Terms. The new Contractual Terms or the barrister’s own published terms are not the “new” default terms. Barristers will continue to be free to agree any terms or no terms or amend the new Contractual Terms.

The Withdrawal of Credit List has been abolished and, in its place, there will be a List of Defaulting Solicitors and other Authorised Persons. The barrister has the right, but no longer the obligation, under the Cab Rank Rule to refuse instructions on credit but, equally, can decide to accept instructions. Complaints can continue to be made to the Fees Collection Department in respect of work accepted up to the 31 January 2013 on the basis of the old Terms of Work/Withdrawal of Credit scheme. There are transitional arrangements enabling such complaints to be made, with solicitors potentially being placed on the List of Defaulting Solicitors. Information on making complaints can be found in the Guide (www.barcouncil.org.uk/ guidetocontractualterms) and on the Bar Council’s Fees page www.barcouncil.org.uk/for-the-bar/ introduction-to-member-services/fees-collection/.

For further information or clarification, please contact Janice Marshall, Implementation Committee Secretariat at the Bar Council on 020 7611 1375 or JMarshall@BarCouncil.org.uk

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