20 May 2019

The Handbook publication

You can download and print a colour coded copy of version the fourth edition of the Handbook, which came into force on 1 April 2019.

In addition, you can download and print an index for the Handbook.

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 Handbook 4th cover

The Fourth edition of our Handbook is available to download above. Older versions of our Handbook are also available, see the archive on the right hand side of this webpage.

Fourth Edition - Changes


New Bar Qualification Rules


The fourth edition of the Handbook includes the new Bar Qualification Rules. Our recent reforms to education and training for the Bar aim to ensure that training to become a barrister is more accessible, affordable and flexible and that it maintains the high standards of entry expected at the Bar. At their core, the Bar Qualification Rules set out the minimum training requirements to qualify and practise as a barrister. The rules also bring into force a new system for Authorised Education and Training Organisations (AETOs) to deliver one or more of the three components of training (academic, vocational and pupillage or work-based learning) in accordance with our Authorisation Framework. To coincide with the publication of the Bar Qualification Rules, the BSB has also published a new Bar Qualification Manual. This provides further guidance on the new rules for AETOs, students, pupils, and transferring lawyers.

Standard of Proof Change

The fourth edition of the Handbook also includes the change to the standard of proof used when determining allegations of professional misconduct.  As of 1 April 2019, the standard of proof for such allegations has changed from the criminal standard to the civil standard.  Any conduct occurring on or after 1 April 2019 will be considered applying the civil standard of proof. However, the criminal standard of proof will continue to apply to any conduct that occurred before that date. This change has been made following a public consultation in 2017 and will bring the Bar's disciplinary arrangements in line with those of other professional regulators.