Bar Council consultations

The Bar Council produces a number of consultations throughout the year.  

2016

2016

The Bar Council has approved budget proposals for 2017/18 to fund the regulatory activities of the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and the representation and support activities of the Bar Council. These proposals have been scrutinised by the Bar Council Finance Committee (FC) and reviewed and approved by Bar Council on 5 November 2016.

As required by law and the Legal Services Board (LSB), the Bar Council will shortly invite members of the profession to review these proposals and comment. 

The 2017/18 budget proposals can be viewed here

Bar Council Budget 2015-16 Consultation 

The Bar Council is seeking the profession’s comments on the organisation’s proposed budget for 2015-16 by way of an online survey.

The Bar Council has prepared a budget plan that addresses the financial needs of the regulator, the Bar Standards Board (BSB), and the Bar Council representative functions for the next financial year placing this plan in the context of a three year financial plan. This budget proposal was scrutinised by the Bar Council Finance Committee in October 2014 and was presented to and approved by Bar Council on 1 November 2014. 

The Legal Services Act 2007 and Legal Services Board rules, require that we consult on the financial plans with the profession and that we explain in particular:

  • The level of Practising Certificate Fee that we propose to collect;
  • The cost drivers of regulatory and non-regulatory permitted purpose budget proposals; 
  • How the PCF is allocated between regulatory and non-regulatory permitted purpose activities; and
  • The scale of charges for practitioners necessary to collect that fee. 

We invite members of the profession to review the consultation document and the accompanying webinar presentation and to provide feedback on the financial proposals shown via an online survey, which will close on 12 December 2014. Practitioners are also reminded of the Bar Council’s strategic plan 2014-2017. Feedback received from the survey will be taken into account when finalising the budget for submission to the Legal Services Board and when refining business activity for 2015-16.

2013

Draft Strategic Plan 2014-17 and Budget 2014-15 

Please let us have your views on two documents that have very significant implications for the work of the Bar Council over the next few years.The draft Strategic Plan sets out the Bar Council's proposed direction of travel for the next three years, setting clear aims and objectives. It builds on the last Strategic Plan which covered the period 2011-14.The new Plan will shape the work of the Bar Council to help ensure that the justice system continues to develop, that the Bar as a whole continues to thrive, and that individual barristers have the help and support they need. We want to raise our game, to be more effective and efficient.The draft Budget for 2014-15 is the first step along the way. We have developed it in parallel with the draft Strategic Plan. The headlines are:

  • There will be no cash increase in the Practising Certificate Fee (PCF) next year; the sum to be raised from the PCF has been held flat
  • We have included a realistic contingency to deal with in-year financial risks
  • We are building back reserves consistent with a prudent reserves policy and to help meet know future challenges
  • We are investing in developing our staff and systems, and
  • We have achieved all this by cutting operational expenditure, and the cost of our accommodation through more efficient use of space.

In light of responses to this consultation we will be refining our detailed business plans for 2014-15, within the control totals we are now proposing.The Bar Council has agreed a new basis for charging the PCF based largely in income, following extensive consultation with the profession. The new arrangements will come into effect for 2015-16, so the methodology will be unchanged for 2014-16. We will issue guidance in due course on the details of the new arrangements.Please send any comments to David Botha (DBotha@BarCouncil.org.uk) by 17:00 on Friday 13 December 2013. 

2012

1) 2013-2014 Budget Proposal Consultation with the Profession

As Treasurer to the Bar Council, I am required by the Legal Services Board to bring forward this consultation document, which sets out for comment the proposed budget for the financial year beginning April 2013. Irrespective of that regulatory obligation, I think that in any event the practising Bar - which is itself responsible for some 60% of the income of the Bar Council - should have visibility of the Budget, and where its money goes.

The budget set out within this Consultation (a budget which was approved by the Bar Council at its meeting on Saturday 17 November) mandates an overall 5.7% increase in the size of the cheque to be written by individual practitioners. That increase is the blended result of the three charge lines which, under our governance structures, practitioners are required to cover annually when they each write a cheque to The Bar Council. The 5.7% increase in the quantum of those cheques reflects the net effect of a combination of unavoidable cost increases, and reduced income.

Respondents should e-mail their views by no later than 15.00 on 14 December 2012.

2) Practising Certificate Fee (PCF) Consultation

The Bar Council receives over 60 per cent of its funding from the practising Bar. In the current financial year, that amounts to around £8m. This is recovered from the practising Bar via a compulsory Practising Certificate Fee (PCF), payable by every practitioner.

The way in which the PCF is allocated to individual practising barristers has not changed in three decades, whilst over that same period, the Bar itself has become a very different profession, operating in a much more challenging and competitive environment.

This consultation asks whether there is an appetite amongst the practising Bar to move away from the present 'year of Call' based allocation to one more reflective of each individual's practice. It also asks whether the current differential in PCF between employed and self-employed practitioners should be retained.

Strong views have been expressed about the need for change in the way in which the PCF is allocated. What this consultation seeks to establish is, first, the direction of any future change; and second, whether there is a strong enough consensus for that change to be implemented. Only by responding can members of the Bar influence the outcome. 

Please take the time to read the background information to the consultation available online here, and respond to the short online survey here before 28 November 2012. Any resulting changes to the method of collecting the PCF would be implemented from 2014/15. 

2011

2012/13 Budget Proposals: Consultation with the Profession  

The Treasurer is inviting the practising Bar to review the Bar Council's income & expenditure proposals for 2012/13 and the associated ramifications for the Practising Certificate Fee (PCF). Individuals, chambers, employers, SBAs, Circuits and Bar Council committees are all urged to take this opportunity to comment on the proposals.

Respondents should e-mail their views by no later than 15:00 on Monday 12 December.

2010

New Contractual Terms of Work

Views are invited on the introduction of Contractual Terms of Work as the standard basis for barristers accepting instructions from solicitors. The current common basis of instructions is viewed as unsatisfactory. These suggested new terms are intended to address the need for clarity in relation to the professional obligations of barristers and solicitors to each other and to the lay client, and provide an effective method of enforcement of those obligations and rights, including payment.

All documents are available to download. The start date of the consultation is April 2010. The deadline for responses is 31 July 2010.