Barristers are facing a 5% increase in the cost of practising as the Bar Council looks to raise an extra £365,000 to balance its budget next year.

That means QCs in private practice would pay a core fee of £1,026, while those at the employed Bar would pay £728.

At the other end of the scale, those of one to four years’ call would pay £68, whether they are in private practice or employment. From five years’ call onwards, employed barristers pay less.

A consultation issued last week said the “budgetary challenges” include a decline in regulatory income and the costs of entity regulation start-up. Entity regulation also raises the possibility of levying fees on chambers in future.

It continued: “The options to close the £365,000 gap have included consideration of further cuts in activity and associated resources, as well as such income-raising measures as aligning the PCF [practising certificate fee] paid by the employed Bar with the self-employed Bar, significantly raising the fee paid by practitioners of three to four years’ call and increasing the PCF across the board by up to 5%. The Bar Council opted for the latter.”

However, those in private practice and employment will in future contribute the same to cover the Legal Service Board and Legal Ombudsman’s levies on the Bar; previously the employed Bar paid less.

The consultation recommends holding the members’ service fee – a voluntary payment to provide extra money for the Bar Council’s representative work – at £150 for QCs and £100 for all other barristers except those of one to two years’ call, for whom it will be £50.

The consultation closes on 12 December. The proposed PCF will then have to be approved by the Legal Services Board.

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