14 Feb 2023

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published its response to the Legal Service Board’s policy statement on ongoing competence. The response includes an action plan which sets out the BSB’s approach to assuring the professional competence of barristers and, in doing so, how it meets the expectations of the LSB’s policy statement.

It is a primary responsibility of the BSB, as the front-line regulator, to set standards of practice and ensure that they are met and maintained by barristers. The BSB has in place a broad range of measures which support this objective, including:

  • The Professional Statement, which describes the knowledge, skills and aptitude that barristers should have as they enter the profession.
  • Targeted regulation where there is evidence of concerns in standards of practice – our work on Youth Courts and Coroners Courts are examples of these.
  • The BSB Handbook, which defines the core duties and rules relating to practice at the Bar.

The action plan sets out plans to strengthen these arrangements over the coming 12-18 months. This includes:

  • The ongoing review of the approach to Continuing Professional Development and in particular the use of feedback and reflective practice to support learning and development.
  • Looking at the role of chambers and employers in supporting high standards of practice.
  • Improving our intelligence and data analysis capability to ensure that regulatory interventions are targeted and based on a broad range of evidence.
  • A review of the regulation of the early years of practice at the Bar to build on the expectations outlined in the Professional Statement.
  • Enhancing our intelligence gathering and analysis and strengthening our intelligence sharing arrangements with other regulators and organisations such as the Legal Ombudsman.

The BSB’s Director of Regulatory Operations, Oliver Hanmer said “It is our job to ensure that members of the public have access to competent barristers. Our programme of work aims to deliver that objective through proportionate, evidenced based regulation which focusses on areas of greatest risk and which supports the profession to maintain standards of practice”.


Notes to editors

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

Contact: For all media enquiries call: 07432 713 328 or email [email protected].

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