21 April 2018

New guidance will help barristers carry out their duties to clients, says regulator

5 March 2014

New guidance for solicitors on how they should assist barristers in telling clients of their right to complain will help members of the Bar carry out their duty, says the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

The new guidance - published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) - makes clear how instructing solicitors can better help barristers convey information about complaints to clients - specifically, by:

  • Providing client contact details directly to barristers; and 
  • Forwarding chambers' complaints information directly to clients. 

The barristers' Code of Conduct requires members of the Bar to inform lay clients of their right to complain. As many barristers do not have direct access to their clients they often have had to rely on solicitors to pass this information on for them.

Head of Supervision at the Bar Standards Board, Oliver Hanmer said: "In the past, we know that many chambers have reported difficulties in relying on instructing solicitors to pass on this information to clients or to provide their contact details to chambers. We welcome the steps the SRA has taken to make this easier for solicitors and barristers alike. As a regulator with a duty to protect the public, making clients aware of their right to complain is paramount to ensuring confidence in the profession."

The SRA's new guidance is available via: http://www.sra.org.uk/barristers/.

Chambers' compliance with this obligation will be monitored by the BSB through supervision. However, chambers will be able to make referrals to the SRA about law firms refusing to cooperate.

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more information about supervision see www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/supervision.

Contact: the Bar Standards Board Press Office on 0207 6111 452.