The bar’s regulator has described as ‘grossly inaccurate’ claims that it is prepared to spend up to £500,000 fighting a court challenge to the assurance scheme.
The bar’s regulator has described as ‘grossly inaccurate’ claims that it is prepared to spend up to £500,000 fighting a court challenge to the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA).
In a statement this morning, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) said it is ‘aware of a number of misleading and inaccurate statements’ regarding the costs associated with the judicial review of the assurance scheme, which opened for registrations at the beginning of this month.
Barristers backed by the Criminal Bar Association have received permission to seek a judicial review of the scheme, and sought a protective costs order of £15,000 on the case. The High Court yesterday set reciprocal a cost cap of £150,000.
The BSB, which is an interested party in the proceedings, said today that the order meant that, in the event of an order for costs being made against the claimants in favour of either or both the defendant (the Legal Services Board) and the first interested party (the BSB), the claimants would not be liable for costs exceeding £150,000.
In the event of an order for Costs being made in favour of the claimants, the judge will apportion the costs be paid, within the cap, between the LSB and the BSB.
It said that, when setting the level of the cost cap, the court took into account the fact that the Criminal Bar Association is supporting the challenge.
The regulator strongly defended its right to secure adequate representation. ‘We are represented by solicitors and leading counsel,’ it stated. ‘Given the nature of the submission and the status of the claimants, the BSB is likely to be required to play a significant role in assisting the court with information about the development of QASA. It is therefore appropriate for the BSB to be suitably represented.’
Reasonable legal costs ‘may be in the region of £100,000’, it said, dismissing comments that the BSB is going to spend £400,000-500,000 in ‘defending’ QASA as ’grossly inaccurate’.
It urged the claimants to provide further clarity by publishing the order issued by the High Court.