Bar access for advice agencies

John Malpas

THE YOUNG Barristers Committee has welcomed Bar Council proposals to allow advice agencies direct access to the Bar.

And the Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay is also understood to be keen on proposals first mooted by Bar Council chair Peter Goldsmith at the Legal Action Group conference on legal aid on 23 May.

The council says the proposals are in line with government and Labour Party policy on the need for advice agencies to deliver a more comprehensive legal service.

At the conference, Goldsmith said Citizens Advice Bureaux and other advice agencies could take take cases further if properly funded.

He advocated the relaxation of the Bar's direct access rules to allow qualified and trained case workers to make use of barristers' skills.

Alison Levitt, of 3 Gray's Inn Square, says: "I think it's an excellent idea which would give a really good service to the public, and generate some work for the younger Bar."

Goldsmith has invited the Lord Chancellor to work with the Bar to set up a pilot project.