Bar hit by subs shortfall

Bar Council finances have been hit once again by barristers' non-payment of subscriptions, which left a hole of some u157,000 in the Bar's budgeted subscription income of u2 million for the year April 1993 to April 1994.

But according to the draft accounts to be discussed at last weekend's Bar Council meeting, total income deficit for the council was only u105,553.

This is thought to reflect the success of spending controls throughout the year.

The overall deficit including sale of assets and depreciation is u143,000.

Barristers continue to be recalcitrant over subscriptions. From April to September 1994 there was a subscription shortfall of u113,000, resulting from 572 non-payments (and 172 part payments) out of 8,023 private practice barristers, and 167 non-payments (and 10 part payments) out of 2,504 employed barristers. Subs may rise by 12 per cent next year.

They could soon face disbarment for non-payment, however, if proposed Bar rules being considered by the Lord Chancellor are introduced.

Non-payment is most common among barristers of more than 12 years call (234). Fourteen out of the Bar's 766 QCs did not pay, while 10 made part payments.

The financial year's overall deficit is u143,000 when depreciations and asset purchases are added.

Among the 1993/94 figures are u150,448 for miscellaneous expenses, u143,929 for public relations, and u130,292 for chairman's emoluments.

Investment dividend income, at u107,352, fell short of a u121,182 budget, as did earnings from the Bar directory published with Legalease. This has only brought in u706 so far compared with a target of u2,750.

This year sees a change in accounting years from the April to April to a calendar January-December basis for 1995 to bring accounts into line with those of the Inns of Court and the Bar electoral year. Bar Council total expenditure was around u2.6 million for 1993/94 and it is budgeting for more than u3 million for 1995.

A nine-month accounting period was created for April to December 1994 to ease the transition. This makes measuring performance against budget more difficult for this year.