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BSB publishes consultation on new declaration rules for barristers

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published a consultation on a new set of proposals to require barristers to declare a range of information about their practice to the regulator every year
when applying for their practising certificate. This also includes new and returning barristers.

If the proposals are implemented, the new declaration requirements would start from next year.

Barristers are not currently required to declare the areas of law in which they practise to the regulator. Obtaining accurate information of this nature will help the BSB to understand better the practitioners that it monitors and regulates and be more focused and efficient in its regulation.

Today’s consultation covers a number of proposals which include:

1.Requiring barristers to declare the following:

  • Which areas of law they practise in; and
  • What portion of their income is derived from each area.

And, if the barrister is authorised for public access work:

  • What portion of their income is derived from public access work.

In order to make the above as easy as possible for barristers to declare, the BSB is proposing a very similar method of identifying practice areas to that used by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund when self-employed barristers apply for their professional indemnity insurance.

2.Seeking views on the method for compulsory registration of Youth Court practitioners.

In February, the BSB announced a new regulatory approach to improve standards of advocacy within Youth Courts. A part of this new approach is to introduce compulsory registration for barristers practising, or likely to practise, in youth proceedings. Today’s consultation paper sets out in more detail how this registration could work, and seeks views.

Registration will allow the regulator to identify all barristers who are working in proceedings involving young people and where necessary to take steps to ensure that they have the specialist skills, knowledge and attributes necessary to work with young people.

3.Requiring barristers to declare whether they provide services that engage the MoneyLaundering Regulations

The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 will come into force soon – this is expected to be Monday, 26 June 2017. The new
legislation includes a requirement for the BSB to ensure risks of money laundering and terrorist financing are identified and assessed in relation to those barristers undertaking work that engages the Regulations. Therefore, barristers will need to declare when applying for a practising certificate whether they are undertaking, or intending in the next 12 months to undertake work which falls within the Regulations, as outlined in the consultation.

BSB Director of Strategy and Policy Ewen MacLeod said: “We are keen to hear what people think about our proposals to collect practice area information from barristers and to change our rules
about what barristers have to declare during the annual Authorisation to Practise process. These changes will ensure that we have a more complete picture of barristers’ practices.  We consider this necessary to help us identify trends over time, to target our regulation at areas where it is most needed, and to help us monitor the appropriateness of barristers’ Continuing Professional Development plans.”

The consultation closes at 5pm on 15 September 2017.  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: