Bar Council ditches plans for barrister levy to support training

Plans to slash student debt by imposing an income-related levy on wealthy barristers have been abandoned by the Bar Council.

After the ‘Mountfield Report’ found that the prospect of enormous debts was discouraging students from joining the Bar, it was suggested that barristers earning more than 100,000 per year should pay 0.25 per cent of their earnings towards student training, while those on 250,000 should contribute 0.5 per cent.

Many commercial sets were against the proposals because they believed they already contributed enough towards their own pupils. But those in favour argued that it was the only way to safeguard the future of less profitable areas of the Bar.

Although a recent meeting of the Bar Council rejected the Mountfield reforms, it agreed to review the problems caused by the high cost of entry to the profession. The new access review is scheduled to report back by July 2003.