Does it only apply to barristers or also solicitors? Why or why not?

  • 7
    This question would be improved by a brief statement of what the "barristers cab-rank rule" is, and perhaps when it applies. Apr 25 at 16:52

1 Answer 1

  • What is the basis/rationale for the cab rank rule?

The cab rank rule has been a defining feature of the English Bar for several hundred years. It original purpose was to ensure that parties to a case would obtain representation regardless of the predilection of the barrister to take the person as a client. There were periods, such as during the IRA bombing of mainland Britain in the 1970s, when defence counsel were difficult to come by. The cab rank rule was invoked by the Bar to ensure defendants had counsel in court... Source

  • Why not solicitors?

Because barristers and solicitors operate under their own, distinct sets of rules.

The "cab rank rule", found at rC29 of the Bar Standards Handbook, is specific to barristers called to the Bar. Solicitors do not have a comparable rule or requirement.

  • 1
    Well god answer except that I was trying to find out not the explanation of the mechanism whereby the rule only applies to barristers and not solicitors, but rather the rationale & basis for crafting each respective set of rules so that it applies to one but not the other.
    – Joseph P.
    Apr 25 at 15:55
  • 3
    @JosephP. It's really difficult to prove a negative, but maybe it's because there is no requirement for solicitors to operate the same way as barristers do.
    – Rick
    Apr 25 at 15:58
  • 2
    @JosephP. Consider a simplistic analogy of a car driver compared to an HGV driver who has their own set of rules (e.g. Tachographs). Although they both perform the same prima facia roles, the former is not bound by the latter's rules.
    – Rick
    Apr 25 at 16:06
  • Solicitors do not represent parties in many important kinds of litigation and don't have a coordinated system of assignment of lawyers to cases, so there is neither a strong reason nor an institutional mechanism to have that kind of rule for solicitors.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 25 at 19:21
  • 2
    Might it be worth adding a very brief summary of the difference in function of barristers vs solicitors? I feel this may clarify why they operate by different rules. Apr 26 at 11:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.