Bar Qualification Rules

1) The rules regarding full exemption from the individual components of Bar training are set out in the BSB Handbook at Rules Q13-Q16.

Overview

2) A transferring lawyer seeking admission to the Bar of England and Wales will be required to make an application for exemption from the three components of Bar training: the academic component, the vocational component, and the work-based learning (pupillage) component (see Part 2 of the Bar Qualification Manual). The outcome of their application will be dependent on their prior qualifications and experience.

3) Certain categories of transferring lawyers may be entitled to full exemption from the individual components of Bar training, as set out at Rule Q14 of the BSB Handbook.

.1      an individual who has been granted rights of audience by an approved regulator and who is entitled to exercise those rights in relation to all proceedings in all courts of England and Wales;

.2      subject to Rule Q15, an individual who has been granted rights of audience by an approved regulator and who is entitled to exercise those rights in relation to either all proceedings in the High Court or all proceedings in the Crown Court of England and Wales (but not both);

.3      a barrister of Northern Ireland who has successfully completed pupillage in accordance with the rules of the Bar of Northern Ireland;

.4      subject to Rule Q16, a Qualified European Lawyer

4) Subject to the exceptions stated at Rule Q15 and Rule Q16 of the BSB Handbook, a transferring lawyer who receives full exemption will be granted authorisation to practise as a barrister once they have been admitted to an Inn and Called to the Bar.

5) For further information on transferring lawyers who may be entitled to partial exemption from the individual components of Bar training, please Part 2D (D3) of the Bar Qualification Manual.

Registered European Lawyers

6) The rules regarding exemptions from the individual components of Bar training for Registered European Lawyers are set out in the BSB Handbook at Rules Q17-Q22.

Registered European Lawyers – ‘No Deal’ Brexit

NB. This notice was drafted on 9 October 2019 and updated on 22 January 2020. At the time of updating, “exit day” may occur on 31 January 2020 but this may be subject to change. In the event of agreement being reached on another position we will provide further advice.

EEA Lawyers – Those from the EU, Norway and Lichtenstein who intend to practise as barristers in England and Wales after Brexit

For EEA lawyers (including UK nationals holding EEA qualifications) who are already established and have received a recognition decision in the UK before exit day, this recognition decision will not be affected and will remain valid (ie you may continue to practise as barristers.)

EEA lawyers (including UK nationals holding EEA qualifications) who have applied for a recognition decision and are awaiting a decision on exit day will, as far as possible, be able to conclude their applications in line with the provisions of the relevant Directives.

EEA lawyers (including UK nationals holding EEA qualifications) who have not started an application for a recognition decision in the UK before exit will need to apply for admission to the Bar of England and Wales as a Qualified Foreign Lawyer (QFL). As a QFL, you will be entitled to practise as a barrister if you meet all relevant provisions of the BSB Handbook. Details on how to apply to the BSB can be found in the Bar Qualification Manual.

Swiss lawyers who intend to practising in England and Wales after Brexit

If you have a UK qualification and professional title

Swiss lawyers who have registered in England and Wales or who transferred to the Bar of England and Wales before Brexit do not need to take any action to continue to practise after Brexit as long as they remain registered in England and Wales.

If you have a Swiss qualification and professional title

Swiss lawyers using a Swiss qualification or title, or those in the process of qualifying, will need to start their application to register in England and Wales, within 4 years after Brexit. Once registered, Swiss lawyers can continue to practise after Brexit as long as they remain registered in England and Wales.

Swiss lawyers using a Swiss qualification or title, or those in the process of qualifying, who wish to transfer to the Bar England and Wales under existing routes, need to so within 4 years after Brexit.

‘No Deal’ Brexit - What it means for the Registered European Lawyers (REL) scheme

The UK Government states that there will be no system of recognition of professional qualifications between the remaining EEA States (EU Member States, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) and the UK from the date on which the UK leaves the EU (currently scheduled to be 31 January 2020). This means that Registered European Lawyer (REL) status will cease on this day.

There will be no new REL registrations from ‘exit day’, although those who have applied for REL status before ‘exit day’, will be entitled to receive a decision on that application after ‘exit day’.

Your status as a Registered European Lawyer (REL)

If you are a European Lawyer who registered after 1 February 2017, you will have less than three years’ regular and effective practice of activities in the law of England and Wales (under your Home Professional Title) on the scheduled exit date. This ‘three years’ experience’ is currently a requirement by the BSB for admission to the Bar. If you fall into this category, please contact the Authorisations team to discuss how we can help you with an application.

Details on how to apply to the BSB can be found in the Bar Qualification Manual.

UK Lawyers in the EEA (EU, Norway and Lichtenstein)

Individuals with UK qualifications seeking recognition to offer legal services in the EEA should check the host state national policies. The EU Commission has stated that decisions on the recognition of UK qualifications in EU countries before exit day are not affected.

The UK Government has published further information Guidance for lawyers with further information.

UK lawyers practising in Switzerland

If you have a UK qualification and professional title

UK lawyers registered and working in Switzerland on a permanent basis under their home professional title before Brexit do not need to take any action to continue to practise after Brexit as long as they remain registered in Switzerland. UK lawyers or those in the process of qualifying will need to start their application to register to work in Switzerland under their UK professional title on a permanent basis or to transfer to the Swiss professional title, within 4 years of Brexit.

If you have a Swiss qualification and professional title

UK lawyers who have transferred to the Swiss professional title before Brexit do not need to take any action to continue to practise after Brexit as long as they remain registered in Switzerland.

Leaving the EU with a deal – What it may mean

If the UK leaves the EU with a Withdrawal Agreement along the lines of that previously negotiated, an implementation period will run from ‘exit day’ (ie. currently scheduled for 31 January 2020) until the end of December 2020 for RELs. We have developed compensatory measures for RELs who have registered during 2018 and 2019, and who will not have met the BSB’s ‘three years’ experience’ requirement by the end of December 2020 and encourage RELs to contact us to discuss their application.

A REL in practice during the implementation period would continue to build up experience which may contribute towards a future application for admission to the Bar as a QFL. This will be subject to the condition that the REL’s practice meets the standards for ‘authorised persons’ set out in the BSB’s Professional Statement.

Further enquiries can be made by contacting authorisations@barstandardsboard.org.uk.

This notice was updated on 22 January 2020. At the time of updating, "exit day" and may be subject to change. In the event of agreement being reached on another position we will provide further information.