20 May 2019

Civil standard of proof to be adopted in professional misconduct proceedings for barristers

The new edition of  the BSB Handbook published this month adopts the civil standard of proof for professional misconduct proceedings arising from alleged breaches of the Code by barristers occurring after 31 March 2019.

The standard of proof will change from the criminal standard ("beyond reasonable doubt" or "satisfied so as to be sure") to the civil standard ("on the balance of probabilities" or "more likely than not") for conduct that occurs from 1 April 2019. The criminal standard will continue to be applied to alleged professional misconduct that occurred before that date.

This change comes after a public consultation in 2017 and will bring the Bar's disciplinary arrangements in line with those of other professional regulators. It is an important moment in the ongoing modernisation of our regulatory arrangements. It means that the public and the profession can continue to have confidence that our disciplinary proceedings are robust, thorough and fair to all concerned.