Windows, Server, 2012, LEX, barrister, software

Bar Squared

Tel: +44 (0) 116 272 5000

18 DEC2012

UPDATE: New Terms of Engagement for Barristers and Solicitors

Damien Breingan

As of 31st January 2013, new work undertaken by Barristers will be governed by the Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012 (“the 2012 Terms”) (or a variation of the same), unless where the barrister is paid directly by the Legal Services Commission, through the Community Legal Service or the Criminal Defence Service, by the Crown Prosecution Service, or where the Barrister has entered into a Conditional Fee Agreement in relation to the Case that does not specifically incorporate them.

The new 2012 Terms replace previous provisions made under the Terms of Work on which Barristers offer their Services to Solicitors and the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme 1988.

Work undertaken before 31st January 2013 will continue to be governed by the former Rules, where applicable. Although, where paragraph 15 of the Terms of Work 1988 applies in respect of instructions accepted before 31 January 2013, the reference in that paragraph to Letter “A” and Letter “B” now refer to the documents marked Letter “A” and Letter “B” contained in Schedule C of the Rules Relating to the List Of Defaulting Solicitors and Other Authorised Persons 2012, which replaces the Withdrawal Of Credit Scheme provisions from 31st January 2013.

Chambers should already have prepared, or be in the process of preparing for the upcoming change. For those that have not, and as a recent presentation by the Bar Council confirmed,

‘DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION’

Decisions need to be made now; such as whether to adopt the 2012 Terms outright or a variation/variations of the same, and how to implement those changes.

From a current LEX perspective, it is crucial that Chambers understand that as of the 31st January 2013, in order to administer cases that fall under the new standard/varied terms, as well as those that don’t, Chambers will need to run ‘two’ sets of workflow templates concurrently:

1. Pre-Contractual Terms 2012 Templates: The acknowledgement and chasing letters generated by Chambers existing privately and publicly funded workflow templates (associated with pre-31st January 2013 cases) will need to be amended, so that they no longer refer to the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme 1988, and instead refer to the Rules Relating to the List Of Defaulting Solicitors and Other Authorised Persons 2012.

2. Contractual Terms 2012 Templates: Chambers will require at least one new ‘Contract’ workflow template, to assign to cases received after 31st January 2013. New letter templates will need creating to insert into the new ‘Contract’ workflow template/s, which refer to the new 2012 Terms of Work.

What does your Chambers need to do?

Re: Pre-Contractual Terms 2012 Templates:

1. Review your existing workflow templates and identify any letters within them that require alteration (for the purposes of removing references to the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme 1988 or inserting references to the Rules Relating to the List Of Defaulting Solicitors and Other Authorised Persons 2012).

2. Having identified those letters, download them via LEX-System-Standard Document Templates.

3. Having amended the required letter templates, Chambers can upload the new versions via our new ‘Document Revision Functionality’ ready for automatically coming into use on the 31st January 2013.

Re: Contractual Terms 2012 Templates:

1. Create new workflow's and letter templates to be assigned to all new work received after 31st January 2013 (that fall under the new 2012 Terms).

2. Configure the new ‘Contract Assignment Rules’ (soon to be available in LEX), under which Chambers can inform LEX which case type combinations fall under the 2012 Terms, so as to ensure the correct new ‘Contract’ workflow template/s are assigned to the appropriate new work added onto the system after the 31st January 2013.

How can Bar Squared help?

We circulated a news article on the 11th October 2012, regarding the impending introduction of Contractual Terms and what Chambers needed to consider in order to prepare for their introduction. We have since been approached by a small number of Chambers requesting assistance with their preparations to adopt the new 2012 Terms.

We are however, aware that many Chambers have not yet begun to consider what changes they may need to make in LEX to ensure that they are ready to adopt the new 2012 Terms, or a variation of the same, and that the prospect of them doing so is a daunting one.

We are happy to advise Chambers as to how LEX can be re-configured to adopt the new 2012 Terms. With specific reference to the items above, we are able to:

1. Re: Pre-Contractual Terms 2012 Templates: assist Chambers by providing a copy of their Standard Document Templates, if required. We will also provide details of, or assistance with using, the new ‘Document Revision Functionality’ described above, upon request.

2. Re: Contractual Terms 2012 Templates: We will provide guidance/assistance with regards the creation and configuration of a single new ‘contract’ workflow template, and it’s associated letters, under which all work falling under the 2012 Terms will be governed after 31st January 2013.

Time is running out!

We have a responsibility to our clients to ensure that our frontline support/project team are not overrun by late requests for assistance and protect them from any situation that may detrimentally affect our ability to generally support users of the application at other Chambers. Therefore, unless we receive requests for assistance from Chambers by Friday 21st December 2012, we cannot guarantee that our support/project team will have the resources available to provide assistance.

Chambers requiring assistance can contact us on our usual support number 0116 272 5015, or via email at support@barsquared.com, after which they will be contacted by a member of our Contract Team.

We stress that it is Chambers responsibility to fully understand the new 2012 Terms and have a strategy in place for implementing the same, before contacting our support team, as we are unable to provide consultancy services for this purpose, at this time. Fortunately, ample guidance has been forthcoming from the Bar Council, and we are more than happy to furnish Chambers with copies of the same, if required.

The future is LEX!

We believe those Chambers who contact us and implement the changes suggested above, will be able to work confidently post 31st January 2013, safely assured that their system is adequately dealing with the new 2012 terms.

However, as part of our 31st January 2013 update, LEX will offer enhanced ‘Contract Management’ functionality, which we believe simply will not, and cannot, be matched by our rival’s software.

We look forward to demonstrating our new ‘Contract Manager’ functionality to our client Chambers soon after 31st January 2013!

For further information about LEX contact us at sales@barsquared.com or call us on 0116 272 5000 to arrange a demonstration.

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Windows, Server, 2012, LEX, barrister, software