Raft of proposals on way to Bar's AGM

Radical resolutions affecting the way barristers can work will be put to the Bar Council's annual general meeting on 10 June.

The resolutions involve public direct access and partnerships for barristers. The proposals are likely to be taken seriously by the Bar – several of them very nearly succeeded when drafted and submitted by Bar Council member Neil Addison at the 1994 AGM (The Lawyer 22 November 1994).

The first resolution seeks direct access to the public, while preventing barristers from holding client accounts. It is proposed by Rachel Brand of Coleridge Chambers in Birmingham, and seconded by Addison.

The second, proposed by Addison and seconded by Howard Gray of Staple Inn Chambers, aims to allow barristers to form partnerships with solicitors and to work in solicitors' firms as advocates.

Addison says that rules banning such barrister employees of law firms from practising advocacy unless they requalify is “a restrictive practice which prevents the free evolution of the legal profession”.

The third calls for barristers to be able to practice as both barrister and solicitor. It is proposed by Sally Hughes, a non-practising barrister employed at law firm Christian Fisher & Co and seconded by Addison.

The fourth from Addison, is to allow barristers to form partnerships and to be employed by other barristers. It is particularly aimed at the financial problems of the young Bar.