04 November 2013

New disqualification rules to apply to lay employees

The new Code of Conduct for barristers contains new rules that will allow the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to disqualify a lay employee working in chambers.

A successful disqualification order will make it a breach of the Handbook for any person authorised by the BSB to employ the disqualified person without prior approval from the regulator.

The rules state that all employees of BSB regulated persons will be subject to disqualification if they breach - or cause an authorised person to breach - the regulatory rules which apply to them and it is in the public interest to prevent them from working for a BSB authorised person.

Head of Professional Practice at the Bar Standards Board, Ewen Macleod said: "As a regulator, it is our primary responsibility to protect the public and these rules leave us in a better position to do this. However, we anticipate such action would only be taken relatively infrequently and in cases where it is proportionate to do so to protect the public."

Only the Disciplinary Tribunal or Interim Panel would have the power to disqualify any non-authorised employees working in chambers.

The changes will be introduced as part of the new BSB Handbook and revised Code of Conduct, which come into force on 6 January 2014.

All chambers will be expected to appoint a member responsible for liaising with the BSB, who will help streamline communication and the flow of information between the chambers and the regulator. This replaces the current duty on heads of chambers.

For more information about the new Handbook and revised Code of Conduct visit www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/handbook.

ENDS

 

Notes to editors

Only pupils in their 2nd six or beyond come under the definition of BSB-authorised person. For more information, see here.

Contact: the Bar Standards Board Press Office on 02076111452.