We set the rules for practice at the Bar in the BSB Handbook. Together the Core Duties, outcomes, rules and guidance seek to ensure that the effective administration of justice is served. Barristers are central to the justice system, and clients depend upon their independence and ability to present their case fearlessly and effectively whilst providing a high standard of service.

Barristers' Core Duties

The Code of Conduct (Part 2 of the BSB Handbook) sets out the Core Duties which all barristers are required to comply with. These Core Duties underpin our entire regulatory framework. The Code of Conduct also sets out more detailed outcomes, rules about what barristers can and cannot do, and guidance for barristers.


The outcomes are not mandatory rules, but they set out what we are trying to achieve, and barristers should have them in mind when considering how the Core Duties or rules should be applied. Outcomes are important as they focus on the impact of barristers’ actions on clients and the justice system.

We will consider whether an outcome has, or might have been, affected when considering how to respond to alleged breaches by barristers of the Core Duties or rules.


The rules governing a barrister’s conduct supplement the Core Duties and are mandatory.

The rules are not intended to be exhaustive. In a situation where no specific rule applies, reference should be made to the Core Duties. In situations where specific rules do apply, it is still necessary to consider the Core Duties.

If we believe that a barrister has breached the rules, we may take disciplinary action in accordance with our Enforcement Policy.


Guidance assists barristers in the interpretation of the Core Duties and rules, and provides examples of the types of conduct or behaviour that the rules are intended to encourage.

The guidance in the BSB Handbook is not the only guidance which is relevant to barristers. In addition to the guidance in the BSB Handbook, we publish: