Legal Business Blogs

Sorry the hardest word as Bar Council apologises for getting its sums wrong

In an embarrassing setback The Bar Council has apologised for incorrect figures submitted to the Ministry of Justice in support of its proposals to abolish the Legal Services Board (LSB).

The error came as the Bar’s representative body on 17 September put forward its proposals in response to the government’s call for proposals on ‘what could be done to simplify the regulatory framework and reduce unnecessary burdens on the legal sector while retaining appropriate regulatory oversight.’

Calling for the LSB to be abolished, the Bar Council claimed the oversight body had, since its inception five years ago, required it to pay £23.7m to cover its share of running expenses and costs, totalling nearly £1,600 per barrister.

In reality, £23.7m was the LSB’s total operating costs, of which the Bar’s share has been 6%, or £2.4m, amounting to just £162 per barrister.

The Bar Council retracted its proposal and in a statement marked ‘Correction’ on the home page of its website said: ‘It has come to our attention that the figures referred to in our original press release are incorrect. The total operating costs of the LSB, since it was established, are £23.7m of which the Bar’s share is £2.4m and the cost per barrister £162. We apologise for this mistake and will be issuing our revised response in due course.’

The errors came to light after being corrected by the LSB, which the Bar Council proposed be abolished in favour of a ‘college of regulators’ in a bid to create a ‘much clearer and less bureaucratic’ model.

The Bar Council told Legal Business: ‘Our main message is that the activity of the LSB has a direct effect on the costs of front-line regulators (the BSB in our case), which have been rising.’

The Bar Council has since re-submitted its proposals with the correct figures.