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HMRC internal manual

PAYE Manual

PAYE operation: specific employments: barristers’ senior clerks and chambers staff

Prior to the centralisation of employer work, the following Employment Income records were concentrated at NIC&EO Employer Group (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)  

  • Barristers’ senior clerks
  • The staff of barristers’ chambers

However since centralisation there is now no distinction in the PAYE references used.

There can be two barristers’ schemes in operation; the barristers’ chambers PAYE scheme for chambers staff and a separate PAYE scheme for the senior clerk. These will normally both be administered by the senior clerk.

Barristers’ chambers PAYE schemes

To identify these cases the employer name should always contain the work ‘chambers’, for example, ‘J Smith QC (chambers)’.

Barristers’ senior clerks PAYE schemes

To identify these cases the employer name should always contain the words ‘senior clerk’ or similar, for example, ‘J Smith QC (senior clerk)’ or ‘J Smith (P Jones snr. clerk)’.

The Head of Chambers is the nominal employer in the senior clerk PAYE schemes. The operation of PAYE is delegated to the barrister senior clerk who then operates PAYE on all payments made to the senior clerk by individual barristers. Failure by the barrister senior clerk to comply with the obligations on the operation of the scheme may result in it being cancelled and replaced with separate schemes for each barrister of the chambers. Subsequently each barrister will then be responsible for the administration of their own PAYE scheme.

Barristers’ senior clerks - tax and employers and employees NIC

Tax is paid through the barristers’ senior clerk PAYE scheme with any payment of employers and employees NIC paid through the barristers’ chambers PAYE scheme, although this does not always happen. The barrister senior clerk is liable for the employee NIC and tax due. The barrister chambers are liable for the employers NIC.