Nick Green QC, Chairman of the Bar, said that he had seen a number of chambers’ business plans which are awaiting the green light and which show that no single model will work for everyone. Forming a legal disciplinary partnership is no longer unthinkable.
With the question and answer session dominated by criminal practitioners, the need for the Bar to earn its living was nevertheless uppermost in most people’s minds. Nick Green QC pointed out that the new rules will apply to everyone but one person pointed out that it is the publicly funded Bar, under pressure from HCA’s and Crown advocates, who are more likely to need the  permissive authority to compete with solicitors, for example, by bidding to supply legal services through a “procure-co”. Views ranged widely, from those who were uncomfortable about any change to those who favour the end of the “referral profession” by revising the direct access to the client and not to have to rely upon solicitors to do what they have always had a monopoly of doing.

The road shows are likely to be attended by some 700 to 800 barristers in all but the Circuits are encouraged to set up forums to exchange information. Everyone was urged to ask questions and to keep an open mind.