The Bar Standards Board that regulates barristers in England and Wales recently approved a proposal from to change an existing rule which says, in essence, that barristers are required to accept clients who request their services. Barristers are now allowed to refuse to represent clients under certain circumstances. For more information, go here.
The English approach to the duty to provide representation, even as amended recently, is very different than the American approach which is reflected in the ABA Model Rules. The only mandatory ABA Model Rule that contains a “duty to accept” cases is found in ABA Model Rule 6.2 regarding court appointments, and even then, Rule 1.16 recognizes a number of reasons that would justify refusing to accept the appointment.