23 September 2019

Part III - Fundamental principles

From 6 January 2014 the Bar should refer to a  new Handbook for rules and guidance on their conduct as barristers.

The Fundamental Principles section includes the duty to not act dishonestly or bring the profession into disrepute, the duties to the court and to act in the best interest of the client. It also contains the duties to the Legal Services Commission, the duty to not discriminate on grounds of race, sex, age, disability etc. and the duty to maintain independence.

Quick Links

Applicable to all barristers

301. A barrister must have regard to paragraph 104 and must not:

(a) engage in conduct whether in pursuit of his profession or otherwise which is:

(i) dishonest or otherwise discreditable to a barrister;

(ii) prejudicial to the administration of justice; or

(iii) likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession or the administration of justice or otherwise bring the legal profession into disrepute;

(b)  engage directly or indirectly in any occupation if his association with that occupation may adversely affect the reputation of the Bar or in the case of a practising barrister prejudice his ability to attend properly to his practice.

Applicable to practising barristers

302. A barrister has an overriding duty to the Court to act with independence in the interests of justice: he must assist the Court in the administration of justice and must not deceive or knowingly or recklessly mislead the Court.

303. A barrister:

(a) must promote and protect fearlessly and by all proper and lawful means the lay client's best interests and do so without regard to his own interests or to any consequences to himself or to any other person (including any colleague, professional client or other intermediary or another barrister, the barrister's employer or any Authorised  Body of which the barrister may be an owner or manager); 

(b) owes his primary duty as between the lay client and any other person to the lay client and must not permit any other person to limit his discretion as to how the interests of the lay client can best be served;

(c) when supplying legal services funded by the Legal Services Commission as part of the Community Legal Service or the Criminal Defence Service owes his primary duty to the lay client subject only to compliance with paragraph 304.

304. A barrister who supplies legal services funded by the Legal Services Commission as part of the Community Legal Service or the Criminal Defence Service must in connection with the supply of such services comply with any duty imposed on him by or under the Access to Justice Act 1999 or any regulations or code in effect under that Act and in particular with the duties set out in Annex E.

305.1.  A barrister must not, in his professional practice, discriminate unlawfully against, victimise or harass any other person on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, gender re-assignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, disability, age, religion or belief or pregnancy and maternity.

305.2. Deleted from 1st October 2005.

306. A barrister is individually and personally responsible for his own  conduct and for his professional work: he must exercise his own  personal judgement in all his professional activities.
307. A barrister must not:

(a) permit his absolute independence integrity and freedom from external pressures to be compromised;

(b) do anything (for example accept a present) in such circumstances as may lead to any inference that his independence may be compromised;

(c) compromise his professional standards in order to please his client the Court or a third party, including any mediator ;

(d) give a commission or present (save for small promotional items ) or lend any money for any professional purpose to or (save as a remuneration in accordance with the provisions of this Code) accept any money by way of loan or otherwise from any client or any person entitled to instruct him as an intermediary;

(e) make any payment (other than a payment for advertising or publicity permitted by this Code or in the case of a self-employed barrister remuneration paid to any clerk or other employee or staff of his chambers) to any person for the purpose of procuring professional instructions;

Provided that nothing in paragraph 307(d) or (e) shall prevent a barrister from paying a reasonable fee or fees required by an alternative dispute resolution body that appoints or recommends persons to provide mediation, arbitration or adjudication services, or from entering into a reasonable fee-sharing arrangement required by such a body, if the payment or arrangement is of a kind similar to that made by other persons who provide such services through the body;

(f) Deleted from 26th March 2010.