Bacfi values place in the Bar Council

Your articles "In-house barristers threat to split from Bar Council" and "In-house revolt against ruling bodies' bureaucracy" (The Lawyer, 8 February) do not give a fair impression of the Bar Association for Commerce, Finance & Industry's (Bacfi) policy towards its membership of the Bar Council.

Bacfi is not considering splitting from the council. We value our position as a specialist bar association within the council's structure.

The Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 put in place a procedure to enable bodies to seek authorisation to grant rights of audience and rights to conduct litigation. The Access to Justice Bill will replace that procedure with a similar, but less cumbersome, one.

Of course, Bacfi needs to be aware of both the existing procedures and the new proposals, and they have been informally discussed. But I wish to make it clear it is not Bacfi's policy to actively consider making an application for authorisation to the Lord Chancellors Committee on Legal Education (Aclec) or to the new Legal Services Consultative Panel. We wish to remain a part of the council.

In any event, such a matter would probably only arise for consideration if rights of audience for employed lawyers were removed from the Bill. We are confident these rights will form part of the Act when it becomes law.

I also wish to correct the figures published for Bacfi membership. The "2,000 plus" quoted represents the number of employed barristers subscribing to the council. Bacfi membership stands at around 1,200.

Susan Ward, chairman, Bacfi