24 October 2017

New version of the Handbook to be published in November

The latest version of the BSB Handbook will be published at the start of November. There will be a number of changes in this new version, including to the parental leave rules and to the Disciplinary Tribunal Regulations, in addition to some minor changes to provide additional clarity.

The change to the parental leave rules will require all chambers to have a policy that allows any member who becomes the carer of a child to take parental leave. Though the precise details of such policies are for individual chambers to decide, the new rule mandates that flexible working arrangements be available to members during their parental leave. Both the BSB and the Bar Council will be producing additional guidance on this change, and chambers will have until November 2018 to update their policies.

The Disciplinary Tribunal Regulations have been rewritten to streamline processes and account for governance changes. These changes include (but are not limited to):

  • Changes to terminology, to move away from the language of criminal prosecution;
  • Streamlining of the 'directions stage', to remove unnecessary complications;
  • Increased transparency regarding the Panel appointment process;
  • Addition of sections on dealing with the evidence of vulnerable witnesses;
  • Removal of the now defunct Hearings Before the Visitors Rules.