Bar Council chair voices doubts over alternative business structures

The chair of the Bar Council, Alistair MacDonald, has voiced doubts about whether alternative business structures (ABSs) should be permitted in the barristers’ pr0fession, even though the Bar’s regulator has applied to license them.

In a speech to the Australian Bar Association, Alistair MacDonald QC said there were a “whole raft of concerns and questions” about the independence of lawyers in entities with controlling interests outside the law, and about whether this would create a conflict of interest.

He also questioned whether, in a sector such as criminal legal aid, it would be “appropriate” to have entities in the market “who are there with the primary purpose of simply maximising profit”.

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