If you are a barrister or a BSB regulated entity, you are required by the BSB Handbook to tell us certain things. This page explains your duty to report your own serious misconduct or that of another barrister and how we will handle reports of serious misconduct.

If you are regulated by us, you must tell us promptly if you have committed serious misconduct. Serious misconduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • dishonesty;
  • assault or harassment;
  • attempting to gain access without consent to instructions or other confidential information relating to the opposing party’s case;
  • attempting to gain access without consent to confidential information relating to another member of chambers, member of staff or pupil;
  • encouraging a witness to give evidence which is untruthful or misleading;
  • knowingly or recklessly misleading, or attempting to mislead, the court or an opponent
  • being drunk or under the influence of drugs in court
  • failure by a barrister to report serious misconduct by others promptly
  • refusing the BSB access to your practice for inspection purposes
  • professional conduct that poses a serious risk to the public.

This obligation is explained in rule C65 of the BSB Handbook. If you are unsure whether to report your conduct to us, you can get advice from the Bar Council’s Ethical Enquiries Service.

You must also tell us promptly if you know, or have reasonable grounds to believe, that another person regulated by us has committed serious misconduct. This is explained in rule C66, C67 and C68 of the BSB Handbook. The duty to report serious misconduct by others is subject to your duty to keep the affairs of your clients confidential. You may also find it helpful to read our Guidance on Reporting Serious Misconduct of Others. 

What to expect when reporting yourself or another

If you report your own conduct, or the conduct of another barrister to us, the Contact and Assessment Team will assess the information. They may contact you if they need more information to complete their assessment.

Depending on the seriousness of the issue, we can take different types of action including:

  • sending an informal letter (for example, telling you, or another barrister, to stop doing something, or start doing something);
  • working with organisations or individuals to rectify something; or
  • carrying out a formal investigation into the conduct reported to decide if enforcement action is needed.

We may also decide to take no action.

See how we make enforcement decisions for more information about what happens when we decide to take enforcement action.

How to report your concern

You can tell us about any potential serious misconduct using our Online Reporting Form. Please also send any evidence you have relating to the issue.

We would prefer that you use the Online Reporting Form, but you can also use this Word version of the form and send it by email to [email protected] or post it to: The Bar Standards Board, 289-293 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7HZ.

If you are unable to use the online reporting form or need help because of a disability, please contact us on 020 7611 1444. We will help find the best way for you to report the issue to us. You may find our Reasonable Adjustments Policy helpful.

Contacting us about your report

We will try to assess what action to take about the report you have made about your own serious misconduct or the misconduct of another barrister within eight weeks of your sending it to us. If we feel that we need further information from you to assess the report, we will contact you. However, if you would like to contact us about it you can call or email the Assessment Assistant in the Contact and Assessment Team on 020 7611 1444 or [email protected]. Before you contact us, read our guidance for those involved in reports of harassment.