Diplomatic immunity

While the Bar Council is no doubt smarting at barristers losing their immunity from being sued for negligence, it is refreshing to hear such a positive reaction from the vast majority of the civil bar at least.

But the criminal bar's concern at the potential for vengeful claims against barristers who fail to secure not-guilty verdicts is well-founded, and the cost of insuring against a negligence action for wrongful conviction will be high.

For the civil bar there is likely to be some defensive lawyering, more extensive record taking and increased use of contracts to attempt to avoid liability – the cost of which will, of course, eventually be borne by the client.

Ultimately, however, last week's judgment is just another step down the road of sets accepting collective responsibility for chambers business, as the bar finally migrates from its ivory tower into a modern commercial reality.