We brought our transparency rules into force as of 1 July 2019 following the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA's) recommendation in December 2016 that the legal regulators deliver a step change in transparency standards to help consumers understand the price and service they will receive, what redress is available and the regulatory status of their provider.
There are general mandatory rules for all sole practitioners, chambers and BSB entities, who must comply by providing information about price, service and redress on all their websites (this includes any individual websites which barristers operate separately to their chambers' website). All sole practitioners, chambers and BSB entities, regardless of whether they operate a website or not, must ensure that this information is also available to consumers in an alternative format (such as a factsheet) on request
The general mandatory rules require you to:
- state that professional, licensed access and/or lay clients (as appropriate) may contact an individual barrister, chambers or BSB entity to obtain a quotation for legal services;
- provide contact details;
- state an individual barrister's, chambers' or BSB entity's most commonly used pricing models for legal services, such as fixed fee or hourly rate;
- state the areas of practice in which an individual barrister, chambers or BSB entity most commonly provides legal services;
- state and provide a description of the barrister's, chambers' or BSB entity's most commonly provided legal services;
- provide information about the factors which might influence the timescales of the barrister's, chambers' or BSB entity's most commonly provided legal services;
- display the appropriate "regulated by the Bar Standards Board "text on the homepage: for sole practitioners, "regulated by the Bar Standards Board", for chambers, "barristers regulated by the Bar Standards Board" and for BSB entities, "authorised and regulated by the Bar Standards Board";
- display information about the complaints procedure, any right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO), how to complain to the LeO, and any time limits for making a complaint;
- link to the decision data on the LeO's website; and
- link to the Barristers' Register page on our website.
Mandatory rules for all Public Access work
For any barristers undertaking any Public Access work, and any BSB entity supplying legal services directly to the public, websites must link to (and you must provide in alternative format) the Public Access Guidance for Lay Clients on the BSB's website.
Further rules for certain types of Public Access work
There are also additional mandatory rules all barristers undertaking particular types of Public Access work. If you provide the Public Access services listed in the current version of the BSB's price transparency policy statement, (and detailed below) then, in these circumstances, you must also comply with additional mandatory transparency rules in relation to those services. The relevant Public Access services are:
Additional mandatory transparency rules apply if you are;
- Providing advice and representation to employees in relation to their bringing of a claim before the Employment Tribunal against their employer; and/or
- Providing advice and representation to employers in relation to defending claims before the Employment Tribunal brought by an employee.
Note that additional price transparency rules only apply in relation to actions for ordinary unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal. Additional price transparency rules do not apply where there are other claims brought in addition to ordinary unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal.
Additional mandatory rules apply in cases concerning;
- How assets should be divided;
- Whether to sell the matrimonial home or other assets;
- Maintenance payments; and
- Pension sharing.
Additional mandatory rules will apply for direct access cases concerning;
- Preparing applications in relation to appeals against Home Office visa or immigration decisions; and/or
- Providing advice and representation at the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in relation to appeals against Home Office visa or immigration decisions.
Note that additional price transparency rules do not apply to asylum appeals.
Additional mandatory rules for direct access work will apply when;
- Providing advice to clients in relation to potential claims under the Inheritance Act 1975; and/or
- Providing advice to clients in relation to defending claims under the Inheritance Act 1975.
Note that additional price transparency rules only apply where the deceased person’s estate is worth less than £300,000.
The additonal price transparency rules only apply in relation to a) local authority hearings and appeals to the Magistrates’ Court, and b) licensing applications for:
- The sale or supply of alcohol;
- Change of opening hours; and
- Entertainment purposes.
Additonal mandatory transparency rules apply where you are;
- Providing advice and representation to clients in relation to personal injury claims (claims for physical injuries, diseases or illnesses, or psychological injuries or illnesses).
Note that additional price transparency rules only apply in relation to claims which are allocated to the fast track (generally, claims which are not worth more than £25,000).
The mandatory additional price transparency rules only apply in relation to summary only motoring offences under Part I of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and/or s89 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. For example:
- Driving while disqualified;
- Driving without insurance;
- Careless driving;
- Failing to stop or report;
The additional mandatory rules will apply when;
- Providing advice and representation to clients in relation to winding-up companies which owe them monies; and/or
- Providing advice and representation to companies in relation to defending winding-up petitions issued against them.
If you provide these Public Access services then, in the circumstances given above, the rules require you to:
- state pricing model(s), such as fixed fee or hourly rate;
- state indicative fees and the circumstances in which they may vary;
- state whether fees include VAT (where applicable);
- state likely additional costs, what they cover and either the cost or, if this can only be estimated, the typical range of costs; and
- state and provide a description of the relevant Public Access services, including a concise statement of the key stages and an indicative timescale for the key stages.
A sole practitioner will need to provide price information in relation to themselves as an individual barrister; chambers will need to provide price information either in relation to (1) individual barristers, or (2) barristers in chambers in the form of ranges or average fees; and a BSB entity will need to provide price information in relation to the entity.
Please see our code guidance page (Microsoft Word download) for examples of good practice and templates to support you with these additional mandatory rules.
For further information and help complying with the transparency rules, please refer to the Transparency Standards Guidance. This aims to support you in complying with the mandatory rules. It includes resources to help such as checklists, examples of how to provide information in alternative format and, for the Public Access services listed in the current version of our price transparency policy statement, examples of the required transparency.
The Transparency Standards Guidance also encourages you to go beyond the mandatory rules and includes templates and best practice on transparency to help you to do that.