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The Prohibition of Referral Fees

Purpose: To draw barristers' attention to issues relating to payment for professional instructions
Scope of application: All practising barristers
Issued by: The Ethics Committee
First reviewed: 01/10/2012
Last reviewed: 05/12/2018
Status and effect: Please see the notice at end of this document. This is not "guidance" for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4.

There has been a proliferation in recent years of the payment of, or requests for payment of, referral fees in connection with the provision of legal services. In the Final Report of his Costs Review, Jackson L.J. recommended that they should be prohibited in relation to personal injury cases. This recommendation was enacted in ss. 56-10 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, and the prohibition may yet be extended to other areas of work.


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Important Notice

This document has been prepared by the Bar Council to assist barristers on matters of professional conduct and ethics. It is not “guidance” for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4, and neither the BSB nor a disciplinary tribunal nor the Legal Ombudsman is bound by any views or advice expressed in it. It does not comprise – and cannot be relied on as giving – legal advice. It has been prepared in good faith, but neither the Bar Council nor any of the individuals responsible for or involved in its preparation accept any responsibility or liability for anything done in reliance on it. For fuller information as to the status and effect of this document, please see here.

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