Two barristers from the same chambers have between them accounted for more than one in ten of the four hundred plus new complaints made against their branch of the profession in 2015/16. The revelation came amid a crisis of public confidence in the fairness of the BSB’s complaints process.
Almost half of female barristers have experienced discrimination at work and 40% have experienced harassment, a major report by the Bar Standards Board has found. Dr Vanessa Davies, director general of the BSB, described the findings as “very disappointing”.
The “grandiloquent, rhetorical and at times almost facetious” advocacy style of a criminal defence barrister has no place in modern trials, the Court of Appeal has said. It found the barrister “certainly appears to take a considerable degree of satisfaction in having a style all of his own”.
The ramifications of leaving the European Union are likely to be wide-ranging and could restrict the ability of barristers to practise outside England and Wales, the chairman of the Bar Council has warned. Chantal-Aimee Doerries QC said the Bar Council was setting up a working group on the impact of Brexit.
Litigants with limited funds should use direct access barristers to represent them in court rather than pay for McKenzie Friends, the Bar Council has argued. The Bar Council, along with the Law Society and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, supported the judiciary’s call for a ban on professional McKenzie Friends.
The chief executive of a pioneering set of direct access chambers has said victory in a group action at the Court of Appeal proves barristers can “cut out the intermediaries”. Carla Morris-Papps said direct access had meant “massive savings” for over 200 clients because the case had not gone through solicitors.
The High Court has thrown out two appeals against Bar disciplinary tribunal decisions by “named and shamed” barrister Tariq Rehman. It has also refused permission for him to proceed with two judicial reviews and had no truck with the arguments he put forward.
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.
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.
A new unregulated law firm is using unregistered barristers to offer small businesses “unlimited legal advice” for as little as £49.50 per month. Philip Harmer, founder of LawPlan, said the business “set out to give value, which seems like an impossibility in the legal world”.