NewsBites - January 2012

Graduated Fees

The Bar Council has given the Crown Prosecution Service feedback on its Graduated Fee Scheme, after asking criminal barristers for their views on the scheme. A representative group from the Bar has been engaged in ongoing discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service on the subject.

Public access

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is considering changing the rules on public access. The public access scheme allows a barrister to be instructed directly by a member of the public without the need for a solicitor.  Currently, the scheme does not apply to clients who are eligible for legal aid. A new BSB consultation suggests changing this rule, with the proviso that barristers, prior to accepting such instructions, be obliged to ensure the client is able to make an informed decision about whether to apply for legal aid or to proceed without it.
The consultation is due to end on 9 March 2012.