Large numbers of barristers’ chambers are flouting an obligation to publish diversity data and the Bar Standards Board has been “unsophisticated” in its implementation of Legal Services Board diversity rules, a significant study has concluded.
Chambers carrying out immigration work have voiced a “unanimous and strong opinion” that they “repeatedly experience poor standards of service from solicitors”, a Bar Standards Board report has found. Complaints included “delays and outright failure” to pay barristers.
Barristers have complained that the decision of their regulator to make public the risk of commercial pressures damaging the Bar could on its own have a negative impact on the profession’s reputation. There are also reports of “growing anxiety” among young barrister about chambers being run as corporate organisations.
One of the newest barrister entities has said that using its services will be “like going to a solicitor’s firm, but a better kind of solicitor”. In a separate development, two barristers have set up a BSB-regulated firm to provide clients with a “bespoke service”, principally in sports, entertainment and media law.
The Legal Services Board has strongly criticised the Solicitors Regulation Authority over failures in its enforcement work and IT systems – and also warned about the risk that the overhaul of the Handbook “may be too much” for firms and the regulator to cope with. However, the LSB said the legal regulators collectively had all made “substantial progress”.
Ignorance about fees, lack of public awareness and “excessive correspondence” from clients are just some of the challenges faced by direct access barristers, a major report by the Bar Standards Board and Legal Services Board has revealed. However, the “overwhelming consensus” was that direct access work would grow in the next few years.
Commercial pressures on barristers are causing high risk behaviours that are detectable in complaints received by the Bar Standards Board, an assessment of future regulatory dangers has revealed. It also highlighted what it claimed were indications that senior barristers were abusing their position of power over women, pupils, and junior barristers.
Plans by the Bar Standards Board to introduce a more flexible, outcomes-focused CPD scheme have met with widespread opposition from barristers. Only two of the proposals in its latest consultation received a positive response from individual barristers, while the Chancery Bar Association and Inns of Court expressed concerns
Barristers specialising in professional negligence are more likely than colleagues in any other area of law to generate complaints, a report by the Bar Standards Board has found. The research found that ethnicity did not have an impact on complaints, but gender did, with men more likely to be complained about.
A dual-qualified employment lawyer, struck off as a solicitor last year for deceiving clients, has been disbarred for his “persistent dishonesty”. The Bar Standards Board said Jean Etienne Attala attempted to cover up the fact employment claims he was handling had been struck out.