Almost 300 new counsel have been appointed by the Attorney-General as panel members of seven Government departments and non-departmental public bodies
Previously, counsel acted for only one Government-related body, but the new list of 295 barristers must be available to act for any of the eight departments. This marks the first stage of an overhaul of the way that barristers are instructed by the Government. In April 2003, the Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith QC, who introduced the changes, will institute a second list to replace those acting for the remaining departments. This will be added to the list of barristers announced last Friday (13 September), all of whom will form a pool of counsel that may be called upon by any Government department or non-departmental public body. The seven Government-related bodies are Customs and Excise, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Work and Pensions/Health, the Inland Revenue, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency. Lord Goldsmith's overhaul included his decision in April to cut the number of barristers on the Government's provincial panel by a third, from 150 to 100. He also terminated the appointments of almost two-thirds of the existing panel, although they were allowed to reapply for the new, smaller panel. 18 Red Lion Court earned the most number of tenants on the new panels, with five on A and four on B. 3 Pump Court won four on the A list and three on the B, and 3 Temple Gardens three on A and two on B. 3 Raymond Buildings got three tenants on the A panel. Four tenants at 9 Gough Square were appointed to the new B list. St Philip's Chambers in Birmingham got the most barristers on panel A with five; and No 6 Fountain Court, also in Birmingham, came second with four members on the A panel.