In brief: Bar briefing secures anti-Government vote

The Bar Council said it helped secure a vote against a Government proposal in the Housing Bill which would have forced leaseholders to pay up to £2,000 per day to take disputes to a tribunal. Outraged by the charges for access to the new Leasehold Valuation Tribunal the Bar Council sent out a briefing to all peers before an amendment against the proposal was voted on in the House of Lords last week. It claimed the Government's proposal represented an attempt to erode the principles of access to justice in civil cases, conflicting with the whole purpose of Lord Woolf's report. The amendment to abolish the proposal was tabled by Lord Williams, former chairman of the Bar, and Lord Dubs. The majority vote for the amendment may force the Government to drop its original proposals when the Bill receives its final reading on Monday.