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When a barrister goes to court, he first receives a brief from the solicitor of the
client, and should, theoretically, therefore never have direct contact with the
client. This means that a client cannot sue for breach of contract should the
barrister lose the case. The other side of the coin is that barristers cannot sue
for their fees should they not be paid.
The barrister cannot be sued for breach of contract, however, as proved in Saif
Ali v. Sydney Mitchell & co. (1980), a barrister can be sued for negligence in
respect of written advice and opinions. In that case a barrister gave bad advice
about who to sue and, as a result, the claimant lost their ability to sue the right
person because time had run out. The House of Lords held in Hall (a firm) v.
Simons (2000) that lawyers could be liable for negligence in the conduct of
advocacy in court, overruling a precedent laid down by Rondel v. Worsley
(1969). The Lords said that, in the event of a lawyer being sued in order to get
the whole original issue litigated once more, then the entire case should be
struck out.…read more

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The Bar Standards Board
· This body handles complaints about barristers.
If the defendant is found to be negligent, or
having provided a poor service, the Board can
order the barrister to personally pay damages
of up to and including £15,000 to the
claimant. The entire process is overseen by an
independent Lay Complaints Commissioner.…read more

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Senate of the Inns of Court
· Barristers can be disciplined by the Senate of
the Inns of Court if they fail to adhere to the
standards set by their Code of Conduct. In
extreme cases the Senate has the power to
totally disbar a barrister from practicing ever
again.…read more

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Legal Services Ombudsman
· Since 1991, there has been a Legal Services
Ombudsman who works investigating
complaints about all of the legal professions.
Comparatively, there are relatively few
complaints against barristers, with the
Ombudsman finding that the Bar Standards
Board usually handles 90% of complaints
satisfactorily.…read more


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