The names of solicitors who fail to pay their barristers are still being uploaded to a list encouraging other members of the bar to boycott them. The Bar Council confirmed this month it has added 13 firms to its list of defaulting solicitors in the past three years.
The list’s future was called into question in 2015 as part of changes to the ‘cab rank’ rule. This had allowed barristers to refuse instructions from solicitors whose names were listed. They can now assess more generally whether the solicitor is an ‘acceptable credit risk’. Reports at the time suggested the reform would mean the list would be scrapped, but it now carries more than 100 firm names.
The Bar Council says the retention of the list is for guidance and to help barristers choose which instructions to take. A spokesman said: ‘Aged debt and defaults on payment are serious issues for the bar, with individuals in smaller chambers and at earlier stages of their career being particularly affected.’
Recent additions to the list have included a court judgment against a solicitor for unpaid debt. Solicitors and firms can apply to be removed from the list after six months, but it is understood that no such application has been made for at least three years.