The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published its latest annual report summarising its achievements during the 2018-19 business year.
Highlights of the regulator’s work during the final year of its three-year Strategic Plan for 2016-19 included:
- finalising the new Bar Qualification Rules which went live on 1 April 2019;
- concluding most of the policy work relating to new transparency rules for the Bar which subsequently went live on 1 July 2019;
- agreeing a set of actions to tackle the unfair treatment of women at the Bar;
- considering the responses received to the 2018 consultation on Modernising Regulatory Decision Making and deciding to move ahead with changes to the BSB’s regulatory decision making (with key changes due to be implemented in October 2019);
- issuing new guidance for professional clients when instructing immigration barristers, and publishing a new guide for barristers working with vulnerable immigration clients;
- adopting new statutory powers to intervene into barristers’ practices in the very unlikely event that something has gone so seriously wrong that intervention is necessary to protect clients;
- raising the profile of the anti-money laundering requirements with which barristers must comply and engaging with the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) who broadly endorsed the BSB’s supervision work in this area;
- consulting on new rules to promote reporting by the profession of sexual orientation and religion and belief data;
- reviewing pupillage recruitment practice at the Bar; and
- preparing for the civil standard of proof to be adopted in professional misconduct proceedings for alleged breaches of the Code by barristers occurring after 31 March 2019.
The report also describes the day-to-day tasks undertaken by the BSB when regulating barristers and specialised legal businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. This work includes overseeing the education and training requirements for becoming a barrister; monitoring the standards of conduct of barristers; and assuring the public that everyone we authorise to practise is competent to do so.
BSB Director-General Dr Vanessa Davies said: “We made real progress during 2018-19 and achieved success in many key areas of our regulation, including completing our review into the system by which new barristers train and qualify, and the introduction of new transparency rules for the Bar. Our focus now is to ensure that our policy reforms are successfully implemented and evaluated, and that we continue to undertake our day-to-day regulatory work as effectively as possible.”
Read the full BSB Annual Report 2018-19 online.
The BSB has also published a separate document alongside its Annual Report, the “Cost Transparency Metrics for 2018-19” which seeks to summarise and explain the regulator’s costs.