You are required to complete the AtP renewal process through MyBar. During the process, you will be asked to:
- update any personal details;
- verify your practising details;
- declare the appropriate income band for the purposes of setting the appropriate fee,
- update your insurance information;
- declare your practice area information;
- make the declarations required for Youth Court work and the Money Laundering Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 ("the Regulations") and immigration supervision;
- make a declaration of truth; and
- select optional fees, make payment or delegate authority for payment.
You should complete the AtP renewal process by Logging on to MyBar.
Detailed information about AtP is contained below. If you are not able to find the information you require, please contact the Bar Council’s Records Department on 020 7242 0934 or email Records@BarCouncil.org.uk
Applying for a practising certificate
In view of the current coronavirus/COVID-19 measures the Authorisation to Practise process is being extended so that all remaining barristers who have yet to pay their Practising Certificate Fee now have until 31 May to do so. Those who wish to delegate the payment to their administrators should complete the process by midnight on Friday 15 May.
Additionally, an option has been introduced of a two-staged payment process for those chambers which have still to pay their set’s fees in a "block" payment. This new measure will give any set of chambers yet to pay this year’s “block” payment, the flexibility to pay 50% of the fee by 31 May 2020 and the remaining 50% by 31 October 2020. This staging of payments only applies to “block” payments by chambers and, for technical reasons, cannot be made available to individual PCF payments through MyBar.
To help ease the financial burden for everyone, the intention is to introduce a universal PCF payment instalment scheme in time for the 2021-22 AtP process and for subsequent years.
If you are making a renewal application, please log into MyBar. After logging in, you will see a banner across the top of the homepage. Towards the right-hand side of the banner there will be a ”Renew Online” button. Click this to start the renewal process.
If you are returning to practise, have been unregistered or if you are applying for your first practising certificate, please see the menu on the left-hand side of the screen in MyBar and click ”My Practising Certificate” and then click “New or Returning Authorisation to Practise”.
AtP renewal deadline – 31 May
The practising certificate year runs from 1 April to 31 March each year. This year, in accordance with our statement, renewals must be completed by 31 May to be on time for the new practising year (in accordance with Rule S62 in the BSB Handbook).
The month of April normally serves as protection for barristers who for any reason fail to complete the AtP process by the required deadline. It should not be relied upon for usual practice and you must renew by 31 May.
Failing to complete the renewal process by 31 May
If you failed to complete the renewal process by Sunday 31 May 2020, you will no longer appear on the Barristers’ Register and will not be authorised to practise.
It is a criminal offence under the Legal Services Act 2007 to carry on any reserved legal activities without a practising certificate.
If we have reason to believe that you are practising without a practising certificate, we will take such action as is considered appropriate.
Requirement for a practising certificate
You will need a practising certificate if you wish to hold yourself out as a barrister in connection with the supply of legal services or to undertake any reserved legal activities.
Reserved legal activities include exercising rights of audience, conducting litigation, reserved instrument activities, probate activities and the administration of oaths. ”Legal services” are defined further in the BSB Handbook.
If you are unsure whether the work you are undertaking requires you to hold a practising certificate, please contact the Bar Council’s Ethical Enquiries Service on 020 7611 1307 or email Ethics@BarCouncil.org.uk
Using MyBar to apply for a practising certificate
Using the online portal, MyBar, is compulsory when applying for a practising certificate. MyBar will ensure a better service for you and give you more control over the data we hold about you.
Should you need to discuss alternate arrangements, please contact the Bar Council’s Records Department on 020 7242 0934 or email Records@BarCouncil.org.uk
2020-21 Practising Certificate Fee (PCF)
The PCF varies depending on how much income you earned in the previous calendar year. Please see below for the 2020-21 PCF rates.
£0 - £30,000
£30,001 - £60,000
£90,001 - £150,000
£150,001 - £240,000
£240,001 - £500,000
£500,001 - £1,000,000
£1,000,001 and above
If you are a self-employed barrister, your income for the purpose of calculating your PCF should be based on the calendar year ending December 2019 that you have or will declare to the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund (BMIF).
If you are an employed barrister, please use your income from the tax year ending 5 April 2019.
If you operate with dual capacity ie as both an employed and a self-employed barrister, then you should aggregate your gross income under each separate status according to the rules for that status.
Receiving your practising certificate
Your certificate will be stored in MyBar as a PDF file, which you will be able to view and print. Your practising certificate will not be sent to you in the post.
If you are going on parental leave, you must be authorised to practise and pay for your practising certificate until you cease practising.
You are encouraged to retain your practising certificate during your parental leave, as if you do wish to practise as a barrister while on leave, a practising certificate will enable you to do so. When renewing your practising certificate or returning to practise following your parental leave, you should select band 1 for your PCF.
Alternatively, if you decide to unregister, you will be entitled to a pro rata refund of your PCF when you go on parental leave.
To change your practising status, you will need to complete the ”Change my practising status” application via MyBar. This is found under “My practising details”. An example of a change of status is changing from a self-employed capacity to an employed capacity.
You will need to review your practising addresses once you have submitted the application. These will be confirmed at the end of the process.
If you are changing your status, you are required to update your record and inform us of the change within 28 days.
If you are a pupil in your non-practising period you do not need to be authorised to practise, as you are not entitled to do anything that constitutes practising as a barrister.
If you are a pupil in your practising period, you need to have a provisional practising certificate. After submitting (i) a certificate of completion or exemption from the non-practising period and (ii) registering a practising period, you will be issued with a provisional practising certificate. This will be valid for the duration of your practising period.
Once you have completed your pupillage and confirmed this to us, you will be sent details about how to change your status to a practising or unregistered barrister, as appropriate.
If you are a self-employed barrister, an employed barrister in a BSB entity or you practise in a dual capacity, you must notify us of the chambers’/entities’ website addresses on which you offer legal services. If you operate multiple websites for your practice, please provide details of each website.
When completing AtP, you are declaring compliance for the previous CPD calendar year. This means that during the 2020 AtP process you will be declaring compliance for the period 1 January 2019 - 31 December 2019.
If you did not hold a practising certificate during that period, complete the declaration based on the last calendar year you held a practising certificate.
If you have not completed your CPD requirements, you will not be refused authorisation. However, you will be asked to list what action you are taking to remedy this situation. Failure to take further action to comply with CPD requirements may result in you being referred to the Supervision Department.
New practitioners are subject to a three-year New Practitioners’ Programme and therefore should select this option on the declaration. If you are unsure, please contact us using our Contact Form to check.
If you are unable to confirm that you have insurance, you will not be authorised to practise. Please contact BMIF on 020 7621 0405 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm whether you have cover or to arrange cover.
Self-employed barristers practising overseas
Unless you have previously been granted a waiver from this requirement, you are required to hold insurance and be a member of BMIF. Where you hold a self-employed practising certificate, you must be a member of BMIF (under Rule C76.2 of the Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook).
All barristers are required to complete the insurance declaration confirming that they have and will maintain such insurance as may be required under the Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook.
If you are a government barrister, you are not required to hold insurance, so compliance with the Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook for you does not actually require insurance. Therefore, you will be able to complete the declaration without needing to have insurance.
Other employed barristers, providing legal services to their employer only
Although insurance is only required under Rule C76 for barristers who are providing legal services to the public, you will still be required to complete the declaration confirming you have and will maintain such insurance as may be required by the Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook.
However, in this case, compliance with the Code of Conduct does not actually require insurance. Therefore, if you are only providing legal services to your employer, you will be able to complete the declaration without needing to have insurance.
BMIF categories for practice area information
We use the BMIF categories for practice area information to ensure we have comparable data between the employed and self-employed Bar. We need this to use information about the market for barristers’ services effectively. The self-employed Bar already provide this information to BMIF. Us using the same categories for the employed Bar is therefore the least burdensome approach for the Bar.
Practice area information for in-house barristers
We recognise that some employed barristers may advise on a huge variety of issues, covering most or all of the practice areas listed. Therefore, we have added an additional category for employed barristers - "General".
If you have selected "General", you will also be required to indicate those other BMIF categories which are most relevant. We have defined ”most relevant” as the top three categories, based on the percentage of time spent working in each area.
Allocating your percentage of time
Calculate the number of average hours you worked over the year.
For example, as a self-employed barrister, you might have worked an average of eight hours a day, five days a week and 52 weeks a year.
8 x 5 = 40 hours a week
40 x 52 = 2088 hours work over a year
Estimate the number of hours you spent over the year on each area of practice.
For example, 1250 hours on crime and 840 hours on tax.
Divide the number of hours for each area of practice by the number of hours worked in the year. Multiply this by 100.
You might have worked approximately 2088 hours over the year (based on an average of 40 hours a week). And then spent about 1250 hours on crime and 840 on tax over the year.
Crime: 1250 / 2088 x 100 = 60%
Tax: 840 / 2088 x 100 = 40% Please note you should round to the nearest 5%
Requirement for registration
The requirement is for all barristers who have accepted instructions within the last 28 days to work in the Youth Court, or those who intend to do so in the next 12 months. This includes pupils in their practising period (see below).
If you have recently undertaken work in the Youth Court without expecting to do so and have not registered with the BSB to undertake Youth Court work, you should register within 28 days of accepting instructions.
If you are a barrister with a full practising certificate, you can register for Youth Court work through MyBar. If you are a pupil, you can do this by emailing email@example.com
If you require any further information about Youth Court declarations, please contact the Supervision Department by emailing Supervision@BarStandardsBoard.org.uk
When you register for your provisional practising certificate, there will be a question about whether you expect to undertake Youth Court work during the practising period of your pupillage.
You should register with our Pupillage Records Team if you did not make the declaration and subsequently accept instructions for a case in the Youth Court. This can be done by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
No longer undertaking Youth Court work
You should deregister if you are no longer undertaking Youth Court work and do not intend to do so in future. You can do so through MyBar.
Scope of the Regulations
You can find the Regulations here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/made. These Regulations came into force on 26 June 2017.
Regulations 11 and 12 set out who is subject to the Regulations:
Regulation 12: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/regulation/12/made
You should read the Regulations carefully to help you to decide whether the work you are doing falls within their scope.
HM Treasury has decided that there should be one set of guidance for the legal sector in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We have worked with the other legal regulators and representatives from the professions to develop the joint guidance, which is available on this webpage.
You should also read this guidance carefully to help you to decide whether the work that you do falls within the scope of the Regulations.
HM Treasury has confirmed that the following would not generally be viewed as participation in a financial transaction and therefore not within the scope of the Regulations:
• payment on account of costs to a legal professional or payment of a legal
• provision of legal advice;
• participation in litigation or a form of alternative dispute resolution.
The Bar Council has produced additional documents with some case studies to further assist you in deciding whether the work that you do falls within the scope of the Regulations: http://www.barcouncilethics.co.uk/documents/money-laundering-terrorist-financing/
If, after reading the Regulations and the guidance, you are still unsure about whether the work that you do falls within the scope of the Regulations, you can contact the Bar Council’s Ethical Enquiries Service on 020 7611 1307 or email Ethics@BarCouncil.org.uk
Declaration under the Regulations
We only require you to confirm annually, during the AtP process, whether you are undertaking, have current instructions, or in the last 12 months have undertaken work which falls within the scope of the Regulations.
Regulation 56 says that you must not act as a trust or company service provider (TCSP) unless you are registered with HMRC: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/made
Trust or company service providers (TCSPs)
TCSPs are defined in the Regulations as follows: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/made
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) basic check
A “basic check” is a criminal record check provided by the DBS which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions.
The Money Laundering Regulations impose certain obligations on us, including to ensure that only those who are fit and proper persons are conducting work that falls within the scope of the Regulations (Regulation 26).
The DBS basic check is a one-off requirement. If you have already obtained a basic disclosure check (as it was formerly known) or a DBS basic check since being Called to the Bar, you will not be required to obtain a new check.
If you have not declared at AtP, but subsequently accept instructions for work within the scope of the Regulations, you must request a DBS basic check upon accepting instructions and only begin the work after the result of the check has been received.
You are not required to send the check to us, but should be prepared to do so if asked.
You can obtain a basic check yourself. The DBS provide this service for those who live in England and Wales. The check currently costs £25. Most checks will be processed in 14 days. More details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/request-copy-criminal-record
If you live in Scotland, you can request a basic disclosure from Disclosure Scotland. More details can be found here: https://www.mygov.scot/basic-disclosure/apply-forbasic-disclosure/
If you live elsewhere, please contact AML@BarStandardsBoard.org.uk
"Relevant offence" under the Regulations
See Schedule 3 of the Regulations: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/made
Where we ask whether you have committed a “relevant offence” under the Regulations, you should only answer "yes" if you have any unspent convictions on the list in the above link.