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Bar Squared

Tel: +44 (0) 116 272 5000

11 OCT2012

New Terms of Engagement for barristers and solicitors

Helen Ford

The Bar Standards Board (BSB), the regulatory body for barristers in England and Wales, has agreed that the new Standard Contractual Terms will now take effect on 31 January 2013.

The new terms were previously scheduled to take effect on 31 October 2012 but, following feedback from a range of stakeholders, the deadline was extended to enable instructing solicitors, barristers’ chambers, their practice managers and software providers to adjust to the changes being proposed. All chambers will be expected to comply with the new provisions from 31 January 2013.

In the simplest form, instructions accepted under the new Standard Contractual Terms may be dealt with using current functionality (handled events) and will not cause too many issues if all members of a set adopt the same terms.

However should individuals choose to contract on non-standard terms then many issues arise that require changes and enhancements to the application.

The first step will be for members of chambers to agree upon the terms they will adopt. These terms will be uploaded within LEX so that they can be generated as part of an automated process on accepting instructions.

Amendment will also be required to the wording of existing acknowledgement and chasing letters to reflect the changes with regard to the replacement of the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme and we suggest that those documents are reviewed within chambers as soon as possible so that they can be amended in good time.

In essence the main areas identified for enhancement and development within LEX are -

  • the ability to cater for non-standard payment terms amongst barristers
  • dealing with multiple contracts [per case/per barrister] where applicable
  • notification on booking appointments into LEX of the existence, or otherwise, of a contract to cover the type of work/barrister combination for the case
  • Agreement of contracts and version tracking
  • Electronic storage of contracts
  • Credit monitoring for fixed or capped fees
  • calculation of interest on overdue fees

The Product Design and Development Team are currently working on a specification to provide enhanced functionality to comply with these anticipated requirements and will provide an update in due course.

UPDATE: How to prepare your chambers! 18th December 2012

For further information about LEX and New Terms of Engagement for barristers and solicitors contact info@barsquared.com or call us on 0116 272 5000 to arrange a demonstration.

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