‘List of defaulting solicitors’ will be scrapped, LSB confirms

Print This Post

25 August 2015


Richard Moriarty

Moriarty: retaining the list could compromise “regulatory independence” of BSB

Plans by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to scrap its ‘list of defaulting solicitors’ have been approved by the Legal Services Board (LSB).

In its place, the BSB will introduce a new rule allowing barristers to refuse work under the cab-rank rule where there is an “unacceptable risk” that they will not get paid.

The BSB decided at a board meeting last month, following a review, that it would retain the existing cab rank rule, together with the standard contractual terms introduced in 2013.

Under the current rules, barristers are not required to accept instructions from a professional client whose name appears on the ‘list of defaulting solicitors’, a list produced and maintained by the Bar Council.

In his decision notice, Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the LSB, welcomed removal of the list from the BSB’s regulatory arrangements.

“The LSB’s view is that including such a list, produced by the representative arm of the Bar Council, within the regulatory arrangements risks compromising the regulatory independence of the BSB.

“Section 30 of the [Legal Services] Act requires regulators to separate representative functions from regulatory functions. This principle of separation within approved regulators is regarded as key to achieving the regulatory objective of protecting and promoting the public interest.”

Mr Moriarty predicted that replacing the list with a more general provision “may widen the circumstances in which barristers can refuse a client”.

Having considered the BSB’s application for a rule change against the criteria set out in the Legal Services Act, he granted the application.

Approval by the LSB means that the drawn-out cab-rank saga could finally be brought to an end.

The LSB launched an investigation into the Bar Council’s involvement in the rule change in 2013, which was only resolved when the Bar Council gave a number of undertakings.

One of them was that by 31 July 2014, the BSB would review whether it was appropriate for standard terms and the related cab-rank rule – that the rule does not apply other than where a barrister is instructed under the terms, or under their own terms – to remain as regulatory arrangements. Having failed to meet the deadline, Vanessa Davies, director of the BSB, apologised at the end of last year.

Tags: ,



One Response to “‘List of defaulting solicitors’ will be scrapped, LSB confirms”

  1. To consistently fail to pay a debt is dishonest. Why haven’t these Solicitors been struck off the roll?

    There has been a litany of failures in this area and the public need to have confidence that Solicitors pay the debts they incur.

    Systemic failure is evidence of obtaining services by deception surely!

  2. Richard Gray on September 2nd, 2015 at 6:32 am

Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

The ethics of the SRA’s social media warning notice

Mena Ruparel

Social media portals are regularly used by firms and those who work for law firms in both professional and personal capacities. Their informal nature and the fast pace of use makes it all too easy for regulated people to get carried away with online discussions or comments which can fall foul of the regulator. This is more likely to happen on social media platforms as these are virtual, accessed in the solicitor’s own time and space. It can be easy to forget that solicitors are regulated just the same at 11pm on their home computer as they are at 3pm in the office or at court.

September 15th, 2017