23 February 2018

BSB launches consultation on entity regulation rule changes and insurance

10 July 2014

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is seeking views on specific aspects of its proposals for regulating entities - companies or partnerships that provide advocacy, litigation, and expert legal advice services.

In the paper launched today, the BSB sets out plans to change the existing rules so as to introduce an initial regulatory regime for entities, in which both the entity and its non-barrister managers explicitly consent to being regulated by the BSB and bound by the BSB Handbook in a contractual relationship.

The paper also outlines various courses of action that the BSB could take in the event that a BSB-regulated entity fails, is abandoned, or engages in significant dishonesty. In such instances, the BSB will need to be able to enter the entity's premises and take control of client files if the entity and its managers are unable or unwilling to assist.

In the longer-term, the BSB will apply for secondary legislation that would give us an explicit statutory power to authorise and intervene into entities, and to discipline entities and any non-barrister managers. The BSB will be consulting separately on the proposed secondary legislation at a later date.

Today's consultation also contains detailed proposals for the levels and minimum terms of professional indemnity insurance that entities would be required to obtain if they are regulated by the BSB. This is to ensure that consumers have sufficient levels of protection if they are clients of a BSB-authorised entity.

The BSB is holding a series of consultation meetings at which barristers, consumer organisations, and interested parties can voice their views without needing to submit a full written response, if they do not want to. Written submissions are still welcome.

The consultation will close on 5 September 2014.

The full proposals can be read on our website as can more information on how to attend one of our consultation meetings. Anyone wishing to find out more should email us on entityregulation@barstandardsboard.org.uk with any queries.

ENDS

Notes to editors

About intervention
"Intervention" is the process by which the regulator is able to take control of client money and client files in the public interest when something has gone seriously wrong. Schedule 14 to the Legal Services Act 2007 provides a statutory power of intervention in relation to licensed bodies (ABSs), which the BSB will acquire if it becomes a licensing authority for ABS entities. The grounds for intervention under the LSA 2007 can be broadly summarised as:

a. Failure to comply with one or more terms of the license;

b. The appointment of a receiver or another defined insolvency event;

c. Suspected dishonesty by a manager or employee;

d. Undue delay in dealing with a matter;

e. It is necessary to exercise the power for the benefit of clients.

About the Bar Standards Board
Our mission is to regulate the Bar so as to promote high standards of practice and safeguard clients and the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

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