Practice Management

Bar Council urges caution over Alternative Business Structures

<p class="jce_caption">The Bar Council has published its response to the Legal Services Board’s wide-ranging discussion paper on Alternative Business Structures (ABS). </p> <p class="jce_caption">The response from its Working Group on ABS reflects the Bar Council’s support for a pragmatic and proportionate approach to the liberalisation of the legal services market, as envisaged by Sir David Clementi in his review of legal services in England and Wales. </p>
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The keeping of records in publicly-funded work

<p>The Legal Services Commission, in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service, has recently raised concerns regarding the keeping of records by barristers in publicly-funded work. The BSB therefore wishes to remind barristers of their duty to give proper regard to the guidance in this area given in Section 6 of the Practice Management Guidelines. </p> <p>The relevant guidance is as follows: </p> <p>4 Completion Chambers should have documented procedures to ensure that, on completion of a case or instructions:<br />4.1 all work undertaken has been properly recorded, the fees assessed and noted and fee note submitted;<br />4.2 papers are promptly returned to professional clients, otherwise disposed of or retained, as they may require but always having regard for the content of documentation - which could contain records of personal data. As a data controller in respect of such personal data,<br /> t should not be disposed of incautiously. The contents may also be confidential or sensitive and therefore require shredding. The date and method of despatch, and details of the documents returned, must be recorded. It is essential however that counsel or chambers has such documentary proof as is necessary to respond to any complaint, or to justify the fees claimed in the event of a dispute or the necessity of taking legal action to recover unpaid fees;<br />4.3 records, including counsel's notebook(s), notes of the final results or disposal and copies (possibly in the form of computer records) of counsel's advices etc are retained under chambers or individual arrangements for a defined and appropriate period. This period will differ according to circumstances and the type of work undertaken but is unlikely to be less than six years. However, the nature of the personal data held and the requirement for its retention in respect of any future claims should also be considered. No records should be held longer than is necessary for such purposes. </p>
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Alternative Business Structures

<p class="jce_caption">The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is working towards making decisions about barristers joining Legal Disciplinary Practices and Alternative Business Structures. </p> <p class="jce_caption">As explained in the BSB’s response to the Legal Services Board’s discussion paper ’Wider access, better value, strong protection’, the BSB is concerned that some evidence is obtained to ensure that the effect on consumers is better understood. </p>
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Legal Services Board - Consultations

<p class="jce_caption">The Legal Services Board has a number of consultation papers out for consideration now and there are more to come through the rest of the year. The consultation papers concern various aspects of how the legal profession will be regulated in the future. </p> <p class="jce_caption">  </p> <h3 class="jce_caption">Open consultations are: </p> <ul></ul><li> </li> <p>Consultation on rules governing the making of representations and the giving of evidence on the scope of the Reserved Legal Activities Consultation <br />closes – 5pm, 28 October 2009 </p>
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The keeping of records in publicly-funded work

<p class="jce_caption">The Legal Services Commission, in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service, has recently raised concerns regarding the keeping of records by barristers in publicly-funded work. The BSB therefore wishes to remind barristers of their duty to give proper regard to the guidance in this area given in Section 6 of the Practice Management Guidelines. </p> <p>The relevant guidance is as follows: </p>
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BSB calls for further research on ABS

<p class="jce_caption">The Bar’s regulatory body has said it would be “wrong” for it to permit barristers to enter into Alternative Business Structures (“ABS”) without further research. </p> <p>Responding to the Legal Services Board’s (“LSB”) discussion paper on developing a regulatory regime for ABS, Wider access, better value, strong protection, the Bar Standards Board (“BSB”) called for more evidence about what sort of market is likely to be created, and its impact on the consumers of legal services. </p>
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Christine Kings

<dl><dt>Name: Christine Kings</dt><dt>Position:<strong> </strong>Commercial Director</dt><dt>Chambers: Outer Temple Chambers </dt></dl>
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Joanna Poulton

<p>Name: Joanna Poulton<br />Position: Chief Executive<br />Chambers: Landmark Chambers </p>
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Peter Rouse

<p>Name: Peter Rouse<br />Position: Director<br />Company: Bar Select </p>
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Clients come first, says Deech

The task of providing “independent quality advice” must take centre stage in any decisions on barristers’ involvement in new legal structures under the Legal Services Act 2007.
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