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Lord Woolf's reforms might not have hit the Chancery and commercial bars as badly as anticipated, but another piece of legislation, the Access to Justice Act, has had a big impact on the way some top commercial law firms instruct barristers. By Jan Harvey
By any standards, the past decade has been a tough one for the English Bar. Lord Woolf and his Civil Procedure Rules have cut the number of claims going through the courts; the restructuring of legal aid has devastated the number of personal injury claims; the Office of Fair Trading seems hell-bent on tearing down some of the Bar’s most cherished traditions and the Access to Justice Act has produced a raft of potential competitors in the form of solicitor advocates. But have these changes done any real damage to the commercial and Chancery Bar?
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