21 July 2018

Consultations: we would like your views

We have launched an open consultation in which we set out our plans to extend and strengthen our powers so that we can carry out our regulatory duties more effectively and efficiently. Some of these new powers relate to the regulation of entities, but others will potentially apply to the whole Bar.

It is our mission as the barristers' regulator to regulate the Bar so as to promote high standards of practice and safeguard clients. It is our job to protect the public and promote the interests of those who rely upon barristers and their services.

To do this job properly, we believe that in rare instances of serious failure to comply with regulatory requirements, dishonesty, insolvency, or where it is otherwise necessary to protect clients' interests, we should have statutory powers to take control of client files in order to obtain alternative representation for clients and secure any papers and assets that belong to them. We envisage that such functions would be used in exceptional circumstances, but we think that they may be necessary to protect the interests of clients. Other regulators already have similar controls so we think it is fair to ensure that consumers have consistent levels of protection across different regulatory regimes.

We are also seeking statutory powers to:

  • Establish, and require contributions to, a compensation fund or similar arrangement (although we do not think that such a fund is necessary at the moment);
  • Require disclosure of information or documents to the regulator; and
  • Place on a statutory footing our power to disqualify any individual from being employed by a business or person that comes under our regulatory remit.

For entities only, we are seeking to place on a statutory footing our power to discipline non-barristers (including entities, their owners and managers) and to permit the BSB to provide for an appeal to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal in relation to entity authorisation decisions.

You can read about our proposals in more detail on our website. Our consultation will remain open until 24 July.

Consultation: insurance requirements for single-person entities

We are currently  consulting on insurance requirements for single-person entities. A single-person entity is a company which comprises just one barrister who both owns and manages that entity.  The consultation discusses whether single-person entities should be required to purchase their primary layer of professional indemnity insurance from a single provider - the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund (BMIF) - or should continue to be allowed to purchase their insurance on the open market. 

The consultation also considers the consequences that allowing single-person entities to purchase their primary layer of insurance on the open market might have for the viability of BMIF, and for the availability and cost of professional indemnity insurance for barristers as a whole. The scope of the consultation is limited to single-person entities and does not extend to multi-person entities at this stage.

The consultation can be found  on our website. Responses should be sent to our Regulatory Policy Department via regulatorypolicy@barstandardsboard.org.uk, by no later than 30 June 2015.