14 October 2019

BSB's successful defence of challenge to validity of Disciplinary Tribunal composition

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today successfully defended a challenge to the validity of the composition of a Disciplinary Tribunal in an appeal examining the preliminary issues of the re-appointment of Tribunal members by the Council of the Inns of Court (COIC). The judgment confirms the view held by the BSB that the Tribunal was properly constituted in accordance with the Disciplinary Tribunals Regulations and that the panel member involved had the de facto authority to sit as a member of the Tribunal. Following the finding, COIC will be writing to affected parties.

The judgment by the Visitors of the Inns of Court follows the identification earlier this year of anomalies with re-appointment procedures of Tribunal panel members by COIC. The Bar Standards Board has been actively managing this matter since it was first brought to our attention and continues to ensure that COIC does whatever is necessary to resolve these historic issues.

Baroness Ruth Deech, Chair of the Bar Standards Board, said:

"Today's judgment is welcome news for COIC and BSB. We are extremely pleased that the "Visitors" have independently confirmed the validity of the composition of the Tribunal panel concerned.

"We will continue to closely monitor COIC's progress in relation to the situation and look forward to the imminent report from the COIC review group on its tribunal services. This will help to inform our options for the administration of the Bar Standards Board disciplinary system, currently under active consideration."

Copy of final judgment


Explanatory notes:

The Bar Standards Board operates a system whereby all disciplinary matters, as well as other relevant actions taken under the Code of Conduct, are heard by independently convened panels. To ensure the proper independence of those panels, the BSB has delegated to the Council of the Inns of Court (COIC), through a Memorandum of Understanding, the task of providing and administering the necessary panels. Under the terms of the MOU, COIC is the body responsible for recruiting, appointing and administering relevant panels.