21 August 2019

A reminder – the duty to report charges, cautions and convictions

You are reminded that you must report to us promptly if you are charged with an indictable criminal offence (Handbook rC65.1).

Core Duty (CD5) requires that you do not behave in a way that is likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in you or the profession. Receiving a caution or a criminal conviction, regardless of the circumstances in which they arise, may breach this duty.

Rule C65.2 of our Handbook requires that any BSB regulated person or unregistered barrister who is convicted of, or receives a caution for, any criminal offence in any jurisdiction (other than a minor criminal offence, which is elsewhere defined) must report the same promptly to us. This is qualified by guidance C94.1, which states that the rule does not oblige you to disclose cautions or criminal convictions that are "spent" under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 unless the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (SI 1975/1023) applies. However, unless the caution or conviction is immediately spent, you must notify the BSB before it becomes spent.

A failure to report a criminal charge (as required by rC65.1) or a caution or conviction (other than in the circumstances described above) is in itself a breach of Handbook which could attract enforcement action.

If you are unsure about your duty to report, you can either speak to our Professional Conduct Department's Assessment Team on 0207 611 1444, or you can contact the Bar Council's Ethical Enquiries Service. We are happy to help.