The Bar Standards Board will do away with a long standing convention and start to pay barristers for representation in disciplinary tribunals. From the start of next year, the regulator will scrap its prosecution panel which has previously provided services free of charge.
The BSB currently uses 60 individual barristers who volunteer on a pro bono basis and are of at least seven years’ call.
However, it now plans to pay for tribunal representation and is looking to form a panel with one or more chambers specialising in regulatory and disciplinary law with members across a range of seniorities.
According to the BSB’s application pack, pay will be divided into three bands according to post-qualification experience. Those with two to five years’ experience will be paid a brief fee of £1,000 and refresher fee of £500 per day after the first day of the final hearing.
Barristers with five to 10 years’ experience will receive a brief fee of £1,750 and refresher fees of £750 per day and barristers with more than 10 years of experience will receive a brief fee of £2,000 and refresher fees of £1,000 per day.
The BSB said the fee structure is ‘in line with that of other public bodies and some professional regulators’ and that is is 'no longer appropriate' to rely on barristers who can provide services pro bono.
According to the regulator, there has been an average of 38 hearings per year in the last two years at an average length of 1.3 days per case. However, the BSB said that ‘the number of tribunal cases is rising as are their complexity. It is anticipated that the number of hearings in 2020/21 will be greater and could be in the region of 45 plus.’
The Solicitors Regulation Authority used a panel of firms for its disciplinary and litigation work until 2017, when it appointed a sole provider, the national firm Capsticks.