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Law Society/ Bar Council Contracts dispute

15 Febuary 2010

The Bar Council and the Law society seem headed for conflict, since the solicitors’ body advised members that new contracts for barristers might put them at a disadvantage.

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The Bar Council and the Law society  seem headed for conflict,   since  the solicitors’ body advised members that new contracts for barristers might  put them at a disadvantage.

Terms of  the new contracts will be realised  toward the end of the month, This when  sets will have to issue conditions & terms  upon instruction (11 January 2013).Working alongside the Commercial Bar Association, The City of London Law Society have the task  of  coming up with the wording.

Though it is yet to be circulated among the Inns. The Lawyer has been informed that the wording has been sent to be signed off on at least a week ago. The real goal is to provide redress for late payment.

It has not gone without notice that some solicitor clients have resisted the new contracts, feeling that there is an unbalanced shift toward Advocates.

Concerns have been raised by the Law Society  in regards to the new contract,  a move that may be troublesome  for those negotiating the contracts.

 “Surprised and disappointed” were the words used by The Bar Council describing  advice given by The Law Society.

Part of the problem seems to be, that Law Society members have been advised that some  of the new clauses are reflected in terms that work in  favour of  the interests of barristers over  of instructing solicitors.

However, the terms are not mandatory and will not be relied upon as default terms. Insiders at the Bar Council have stated  the contract was supposed to provide assurance keeping in mind the obligations counsel are under.

This all takes place in the midst of  an expansion in  process seeking to  modernise the bar, with  numbers of direct access instructions steadily increasing each year.

This isn’t  the first time the Law Society and Bar Council  have had  differences over the contract. Talks have previously broken down  in 2008 when a consensus over wording couldn’t be reached. The Bar Council has vowed that it would move forward on its own.

Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, Law Society President has stated that the contracts signified a power shift in the Barrister-Solicitor  relationship.

“A balance must be realised regarding the interests of both parties and, more  important than that is the interests of the client,” she stated. “In the view of the Law Society, there’s no doubt the bar’s proposal favours the barrister, and this in turn leaves the solicitor, and therefore the client  without sufficient control or an effective remedy in the event of substandard service  by the barrister.”

Ms. Scott-Moncrief also stated  “It’s very disheartening that no   agreement could be made  between the two professions regarding the content of the new standard contractual terms. Without an  agreement, the  Law society has had no choice  but to provide  guidance to solicitors, warning that  provisions which may  be contrary to their interests regarding  the relationship with a barrister and possibly offer alternate

Last updated 15 February 13 02:18:58 PM
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