INTENSE competition in the elections for the in-house seats on the Bar Council has prompted calls for more places to be given to the employed sector.
This year 13 in-house counsel are fighting it out for the four places up for election on the Bar Council.
Calls for extended rights of audience are high on the agenda.
For the first time both the Association of First Division Civil Servants and the Bar Association for Commerce Finance and Industry are putting forward their own slates for the election.
Traditionally, the groups representing employed barristers have agreed to nominate candidates between them and it was only when former CPS barrister Neil Addison stood independently in 1993 that the convention broke down.
Of the four candidates on the FDA slate, three are employed by the CPS and one is from the Government Legal Service.
The FDA, which like Bacfi will be recommending the slate to its members, says it can sweep the board.
Spokesman Anthony Engel said: "If the other groups don't get seats, we would expect the Bar Council to increase the employed Bar's representation."
Bacfi chair Austin Allison confirmed his group was also putting up a slate but said he was happy with the level of representation for the employed Bar.
Addison was doubtful about the slate system because of the danger of an entire sector of the employed Bar going without representation.
A Bar spokeswoman said that there were no plans to change current representation levels. However, she stressed that the Bar worked to represent all shades of the profession.