The 2018-19 Annual Report is where we record both the policy developments we made during 2018-19 and our day to day work regulating barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. This year’s report covers the final year of the Strategic Plan for 2016-19.
As well as our consultations in 2018-19 on the future of Bar training, new transparency standards for the Bar and our new 2019-22 strategy, key highlights from the year included:
- agreeing new Bar Qualification Rules (which went live on 1 April 2019) following consultations on the future of Bar training;
- consulting on new Bar transparency standards for the Bar;
- agreeing our new Strategic Plan for 2019-22;
- agreeing a set of actions to tackle the unfair treatment of women at the Bar;
- recording high levels of compliance with the new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme (just under 90% of barristers compliant in the first year of operation);
- considering the responses we received to our 2018 consultation on Modernising Regulatory Decision Making and deciding to move ahead with changes to our regulatory decision making (with key changes due to be implemented in October 2019);
- issuing new guidance for professional clients when instructing immigration barristers;
- adopting new statutory powers to intervene into barristers' practices in the very unlikely event that something has gone so seriously wrong that intervention is necessary to protect clients;
- raising the profile of the anti-money laundering requirements with which barristers must comply and engaging with the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) who broadly endorsed our supervision work in this area;
- consulting on new rules to promote reporting by the profession of sexual orientation and religion and belief data;
- publishing a new guide for barristers working with vulnerable immigration clients;
- reviewing pupillage recruitment practice at the Bar; and
- preparing for the civil standard of proof to be adopted in professional misconduct proceedings for alleged breaches of the Code by barristers occurring after 31 March 2019.