Another barrister has fallen foul of the rules on public access, this time by handling client money, leading to a six-month ban from handling such cases and a £1,000 fine for then failing to co-operate with the Legal Ombudsman and Bar Standards Board.
The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has proposed that it should be given, for the first time, the power to intervene in barristers’ practices and chambers. It also wants new powers on fines and setting up a compensation fund.
Tariq Rehman, the barrister ‘named and shamed’ by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) for the number of complaints against him, has succeeded in a last-minute bid to remove the judge hearing his appeal.
The Bar Standards Board has promised to provide “lighter weight and less costly” regulation than its rivals as it applied to become a regulator of alternative business structures last week. “Many potential entities” wanted to “exploit the greater flexibility” that operating as an ABS could provide.
The number of QCs is continuing to fall, statistics from the Bar Standard Board have shown, dropping by more than 200 in four years. This contrasts with the steady rise in the total number of practicing barristers.
A firm set up by Mark Johnson, a solicitor and former partner at Geldards, is among the first dozen entities to be named today as regulated by the Bar Standards Board. He did it because of access to Bar Mutual indemnity insurance and the Bar’s “simpler and more transparent” rules.
A disbarred barrister was jailed for fraud last week after taking money from the parents of children with special educational needs but failing to appear at court. A colleague who also pretended to be a practising barrister was jailed too.
All but one of the entities authorised by the Bar Standards Board since the beginning of this month consist of a single barrister, with the other made up of two barristers, it has emerged.
‘The cab-rank rule is dead, long live the cab-rank principle’, or words to that effect, may be heard before too long. More than two years after the prescriptive-rule-versus-laudable-principle debate was sparked, the Bar Standards Board appears ready to consider converting the rule and its many exceptions into an outcomes-focused foundation of barristers’ practice.
The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has said that producing a “common document” on the knowledge and skills required by solicitors and barristers has “not proved possible”.