As part of its ongoing Future Bar Training (FBT) programme, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today launched a new consultation on a number of aspects of the way in which barristers train and qualify.
- To what extent the BSB should prescribe the role of the Inns of Court in the training and qualification of barristers; and
- Future rules and regulatory arrangements for the work-based component of training (pupillage).
The consultation paper makes it clear that the BSB understands the historic and supportive role played by the Inns and by pupil supervisors in preparing new barristers for the realities of practice. The regulator has no intention of changing what works well, but it does want to deregulate in these areas if it can. For example, by removing certain prescriptive rules around pupillage, it may be possible to remove barriers to those parts of the Bar wanting to provide more innovative and flexible pupillage opportunities.
The BSB is also seeking views on a draft of a new framework which will enable training providers (in the academic, vocational and professional stages of training) to develop new and innovative training programmes for aspiring barristers. This follows on from the publication of a policy statement in March 2017 in which the regulator said it would authorise a limited number of new training routes for prospective students to qualify as barristers in the future, based on four core principles of flexibility, accessibility, affordability and high standards.
BSB Director of Strategy and Policy Ewen MacLeod said:
“By seeking views on these important matters, we are keen to make sure that our rules governing pupillage and qualification remain fit for purpose over the long-term. We want to build on what
already works well in the current system, maintain the high-standards of entry for newly qualified barristers, and to encourage innovation and flexibility for the Bar in the way that work-based training for barristers is delivered. At the same time, we want to ensure that a career as a barrister is accessible for everyone with the potential.
There are a number of possible ways to achieve all of this, so we are keen to hear what people think about the issues we have included in this consultation paper.”
The consultation seeks views from practising barristers, current or recent pupils, students, pupil supervisors, training providers and consumers. It closes on 8 January 2018 with any new rules expected to come into effect in 2019.
The BSB will be holding a series of meetings around the country in order to listen to the views of all interested parties. Details of these events will be available soon.
You can read the full consultation here.
About the Bar Standards Board
Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t
About the Future Bar Training programme
The Future Bar Training programme is the BSB’s review into the ways in which prospective barristers train and qualify for the Bar. The BSB wants to make training more flexible, accessible and
affordable, while sustaining high standards.