24 February 2018

BSB approves new governance principles and agrees to simplify decision-making

27 January 2017

At its meeting on Thursday 26 January, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) agreed a new set of governance principles.

The principles clarify how the regulator makes decisions, its governance structures and how it gathers expert input to inform its work. The principles also confirm the Board's commitment to independence and openness, effectiveness, and its duty to promote Equality and Diversity.

The BSB also announced plans to wind up its Qualifications Committee at the end of August as part of its ongoing governance reform programme.

The Qualifications Committee, which is made up of nine barrister members and nine lay members with a lay chair, deals with applications for waivers or exemptions from provisions of the BSB Handbook relating to qualification and practice as a barrister, as well as applications for licensed access. The aim of the change is to make decisions more simply and quickly, where they are reasonably straightforward.

Decisions on waivers and exemptions have been delegated from the committee to BSB staff in the first instance. In the transitional period until the end of August, members of the Qualifications Committee will be available to provide advice to staff taking those decisions. The Qualifications Committee will continue to deal with reviews of decisions within the transitional period.

From 1 September, simple waivers and exemptions will be dealt with by BSB staff. For more complex decisions staff will be able to seek advice from members of the BSB's new Advisory Pool of Experts (APEX).  Reviews of BSB decisions will be considered by Review Panels.

At its meeting, the Board also agreed to publish a short statement outlining the role of the Board and its primary responsibilities.

The governance principles and the statement on the role of the Board are available in the Governance Manual on the BSB website.

ENDS

Notes to editors

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

Contact: For all media enquiries call: 0207 611 1452 or email press@barstandardsboard.org.uk.