All BLS members should take note that the Bar Council has published changes to its standard terms of instruction. This is coming into effect on 31st January and has not been widely publicised. Any BLS member firm with concerns or difficulties should contact BLS at firstname.lastname@example.org where the Honorary Secretary, Leon Smith, is collecting any problems so that responses can be formulated.
On the 31 January 2013, 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) are abolished.
On the 31 January, the Bar Code of Conduct is amended so that the Cab Rank Rule applies to instructions offered on the basis of new Standard Contractual Terms or the barrister’s own published terms of engagement. This means, instead of the Cab Rank Rule applying to the present Terms of Work, it will apply to these new Contractual Terms or the barrister’s own published terms.
The new Contractual Terms are for use for instructions from solicitors and all persons/bodies authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority 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 incorporates these Terms.