The Bar Council has accepted that it breached rules by interfering in the Bar Standards Board's decision-making over controversial changes to the cab rank rule.
The Legal Services Board super-regulator began an investigation into the representative body’s actions in June. Its report, published today, finds that the Bar Council had failed to act in a way which is ‘compatible with the principle of regulatory independence’ and that its actions had an ‘adverse impact on protecting and promoting the public interest by undermining the principle of independent regulation’.
The report says the rules made by the Bar Council about the operation of the list of defaulting solicitors ‘cannot legitimately be considered to have been for the purposes of representing or promoting the interests of barristers’.
It says the Bar Council’s acts in respect of the matter were ‘unreasonable’. However it found that the council's actions ‘did not and were not likely to have had an adverse impact on supporting the constitutional principle of the rule of law’.
The Bar Council accepted the findings of the LSB’s investigation and agreed to seek informal resolution of the issue by agreeing to a series of undertakings in its future dealings with the frontline regulator and to keep the arrangements under review.
In October 2011 the BSB applied for a change in relation to the cab rank rule, which the LSB granted in July 2012. The change enforced standard contractual terms between solicitors and barristers.