Representatives of the judges and the Israel Bar said on Thursday they might be close to resolving the simmering dispute between them over the Bar's annual program to rate the performance of judges, which was introduced throughout the country two years ago. A statement issued by the Courts' Administration said "The national representatives of the judges would meet today to discuss the matter." The judges have boycotted all official Bar Association affairs since the Bar began distributing the controversial questionnaires and asking lawyers to rate the judges' performance in court. They said they were against the Bar's "popularity contest" and warned that it might negatively affect the judges' work by influencing them to act in a way which will satisfy the lawyers who assess their work. Meanwhile, the Bar Association announced that the judges and the Bar had conducted a dialogue that appeared to be leading to an agreement between the sides, pending approval by the two groups. According to the agreement, a joint committee including representatives of the judges, the Bar and the Courts Administration will "reach agreement on the way to monitor the conduct of the judges in courts. The judges will halt their boycott of the Bar. It is hoped that during the work of the committee, which should take a year, the Bar will not put out another approval rating." Judge Yehudit Tzur, head of the Judges' Representative Committee, said that the attempt to begin a dialogue with the lawyers had taken a long time and that the judges recognized the importance of having their work reviewed.