23 January 2018

Painting a picture of the newly qualified barrister: Regulator sets out ‘Professional Statement’

21 October 2015

The barristers' regulator has published a Professional Statement today which describes the knowledge, skills and attributes that a newly qualified barrister should have when issued with a Full Practising Certificate.

The Statement provides a high level indication of the characteristics needed to be a barrister. More detailed "threshold standards" will be developed based on the statement and will be consulted on in early 2016.

Using a Professional Statement to define what a newly authorised barrister should be able to do from 'day one' of practice - the point of being issued a full practising certificate - could be the key to making qualification routes to the Bar more flexible and innovative, says the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

The Professional Statement is an essential part of the regulator's Future Bar Training programme which was launched in 2014.  The Statement applies to all areas of practice and comprises four elements:

  • barristers' distinctive characteristics;
  • personal values and standards;
  • working with others; and
  • management of practice. 

The regulator hopes the Statement will allow for more freedom in the ways in which formal Bar training and pupillage are delivered. 

The Statement has been developed following comprehensive and active consultation with members of the Bar, consumer panels and other interested parties. This constructive dialogue has led to the final version of the Professional Statement published today.

Director of Education and Training for the BSB, Dr Simon Thornton-Wood, said: "This is an entry standard which practising barristers should expect of themselves and their peers. Thanks to valuable feedback from members of the Bar, consumer groups and training providers we are confident the Professional Statement captures the distinctive nature of practice at the Bar.

"Our role is to make sure barristers are trained to an appropriate standard and provide a high quality service to their clients. The Professional Statement will help us to maintain standards for education and training providers and barristers entering practice."

The Professional Statement will help inform the design of Bar education and training for the future, and could lead to new ways of qualifying. Aspiring barristers can use the Professional Statement to identify the areas they need to develop, while consumers might use it to help understand a barrister's role and the service they can expect to receive.

In another open consultation which closes on 30 October, the regulator is proposing changes to the way it will regulate future Bar training - including the academic, vocational and pupillage stages. The Professional Statement is key to this process. These are first steps towards a possible change in all stages of education and training for the Bar.

The Professional Statement will not replace the Code of Conduct, which sets out duties and responsibilities, and all barristers must continue to comply with the regulations set out in the BSB Handbook.

By developing the Professional Statement, the regulator is addressing specific recommendations of the Legal Education and Training Review (2013). 

Please read the full Professional Statement here.

ENDS

Notes to editors

About Future Bar Training

Future Bar Training is the BSB's programme of review and reform that will bring training regulation up-to-date and assure high standards in barristers' services for the future. It was launched on 31 October 2014.

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

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