We regulate practising barristers, pupils, unregistered barristers, certain specialised legal services businesses (known as BSB entities) and European lawyers registered with us. Select from the below to find out more.

Practising barristers

Barristers are specialist legal advisers and court room advocates. They are trained to advise clients on the strengths and weaknesses of their case. They have specialist knowledge and experience in and out of court. Practising barristers must hold a practising certificate issued by us. Our Barristers’ Register is an online database which displays details of all barristers who have a current practising certificate.


Pupils are those who are in their final stage of training before becoming fully qualified barristers. They are supervised by practitioners who have been appointed as pupil supervisors.

Unregistered barristers

There are many barristers who do not have a practising certificate either by choice or because they do not qualify for a practising certificate. They are not allowed to practise as barristers in England and Wales.

They are called "unregistered barristers" because they do not hold practising certificates and so are not on the Barristers’ Register. Many unregistered barristers will have chosen careers other than law or may be retired.

Although the rules which apply only to practising barristers do not apply to them, all unregistered barristers remain members of the profession and are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. They remain subject to certain Core Duties and Conduct Rules in the BSB Handbook at all times. If they provide legal services, they must comply with all the Core Duties and they have a responsibility not to mislead anyone about their status. There is guidance to assist unregistered barristers to comply with their BSB Handbook obligations.

BSB entities

A BSB entity is a company or partnership regulated by the Bar Standards Board which provides advocacy, litigation or specialist legal advice. A BSB entity must appoint a Head of Legal Practice and a Head of Finance and Administration.

We also regulate the owners and directors/partners of BSB entities.

Registered European lawyers

We regulate nationals of European Union Member States who are authorised to practise as a lawyer in any Member State and are registered with us.


We are also able to take action against the employees of practising barristers, BSB entities and registered European lawyers. We can apply to temporarily or permanently disqualify them from being appointed or employed by those we regulate.


The information in these pages applies to barristers and others we regulate.

The laws and regulations relating to barristers and lawyers are complicated. We have simplified things to give you an idea of how they apply. Please do not rely on this page as a complete statement of the law or our regulations.