19 January 2018

Blog: Monthly message from our Chair Sir Andrew Burns KCMG

It may be summer, but the Board and I had another packed agenda at our meeting at the end of July. As always much of our discussion was in public session: we are the only legal services regulator to be so transparent.

One of the things that we finalised then was our Annual Report for the 2016-17 business year. You can read the Report in full on our website. As you'll see, effective regulation in the public interest - mandated by Parliament in the Legal Services Act of 2007 - covers a wide range of issues, needs to be well-founded on good evidence, risk-based and proportionate in the remedies we propose and in the rules we lay down in the Handbook.

Highlights during what was the first year of our current three-year Strategic Plan included:

  • introducing new measures to improve standards of advocacy within Youth Courts;
  • introducing a radically new CPD scheme for established barristers;
  • consulting the profession and others about the future of Bar training and setting out the broad principles of a new Authorisation Framework;
  • publishing the results of our major survey about women's experiences at the Bar; and
  • preparing to license Alternative Business Structures (ABSs).

The Report also shines a spotlight on the day to day tasks that we undertake when regulating barristers and specialised legal businesses in England and Wales. This work includes supervising barristers' chambers, assessing complaints about barristers' professional conduct, complying with statutory equality and diversity responsibilities, and a range of tasks associated with overseeing the qualification of new barristers. All these form part of a longer list of activities, which you can read about in more detail in the Report.

We always aim to do our work as efficiently as possible and in a way that delivers value-for-money for those of you who fund us.

I hope you enjoy reading our Annual Report, and also this edition of Regulatory Update.