Cab rank rule

The cab rank rule has for many years meant that barristers are obliged to accept all cases sent to them if they fall within their expertise.

For many years the cab rank rule has meant that if a barrister is an expert in a certain field he is obliged to accept any cases, in that particular field, given to him by a solicitor.  He can not pick and choose which ones he accepts, meaning that even the least desirable type of client will be represented.

Changes are under way which are due to take effect on 31st January 2013. These changes aim to update the way work is referred to barristers by solicitors.

The traditional non-contractual arrangement has led to cases when it has been difficult to recover fees. The trend is that barristers want to agree contractual terms with solicitors.

From January 2013 the cab rank rule will apply if a solicitor instructs a barrister on its new Standard Contractual Terms or on a barristers' own contractual terms, as published on their chambers website. If they want to instruct them on any other terms, the cab rank rule will not apply. Prior to this clients had been denied the benefits of the cab rank rule when instructions were made on a contractual basis.

It was the case that if a barrister's fees were not paid by the instructing firm of solicitors, and a court gave a judgement in the barrister's favour, a complaint could be raised by the barrister and the defaulting solicitor was put on a list recording defaulting solicitors.  The cab rank rule did not then apply to any barrister receiving instructions from such a solicitor.

From July 2015 The Bar Standards Board (BSB) dispensed with its ‘list of defaulting solicitors’ and replaced it with a new rule allowing barristers to refuse work under the cab-rank rule where there is an “unacceptable credit risk”. The changes in 2015 led to new guidance on the Cab Rank Rule for when a barrister is instructed by a professional client who is not a solicitor. This was to ensure that all "authorised persons" are able to instruct barristers under the Cab Rank Rule on the same terms.

 

Taxi for the cab rank rule | News | Law Society Gazette

Changes to the Cab Rank Rule - Bar Standards Board

'List of defaulting solicitors' to be ditched but cab-rank rule set to survive.

 

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