Following a number of recent enquiries, the Ethics Committee reminds members of Rule 46 of the Uniform Conduct Rules, which provides:
“A barrister may not make a payment or gift to any person by reason of or in connection with the introduction of professional work by that person to the barrister.”
The rule is not limited to future work nor to a particular brief.
Gifts or payments made to solicitors or others who have introduced work to a barrister contravene the rule if they are given by reason of or in connection with the introduction of professional work.
It is the view of the Committee, that gifts or payments may be contrasted with, for example, a cup of coffee purchased for instructors or clients as a courtesy, or a lunch at the end of a trial to thank instructors for their work or to celebrate a victory, or gifts for friends unconnected with the provision of work to the barrister.
The Committee has no power to grant dispensations in relation to the operation of the Rule.
Counsel should bear the rule in mind when determining whether and in what circumstances they may in the future make gifts to instructors and others who provide or refer work to them.
If Counsel wish to seek clarification in relation to the operation of the rule to their individual circumstances they can contact the Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dated: 14 December 2018
R N Annesley QC
Chair Ethics Committee