The oversight regulator has approved plans to allow barristers more say in which solicitors they take work from.
The adjustment to the ‘cab rank’ rule was finalised last month by the Bar Standards Board, allowing barristers to refuse work from solicitors deemed to be an ‘unacceptable’ risk.
The proposal effectively replaces the list of defaulting solicitors, produced by the representative arm of the Bar Council.
The oversight regulator, the Legal Services Board, today confirmed it has approved the changes to the cab rank rule and they were effective from yesterday.
In its decision notice, the LSB said it welcomed the removal of the list of defaulting solicitors and said the BSB’s approach may widen the circumstances in which barristers can refuse a client.
The LSB said the production of the list ‘risks compromising the regulatory independence’ of the Bar Standards Board, which is required to be separate to the representative body.
‘This principle of separation is regarded as key to achieving the regulatory objective of protecting and promoting the public interest,’ added the LSB notice.
The BSB was made to review the cab rank rule after the LSB found that the Bar Council had breached rules by interfering in the regulator’s decision-making over changes to the rule. The change enforced the standard contractual terms between solicitors and barristers.
The BSB has said its new system will encourage an ‘outcomes focused approach’ from barristers.
Barristers will be expected to consider alternatives, such as getting an advance payment or using a third-party payment service, before refusing to take on a case.