An important part of the way in which we regulate barristers is
making sure that there are safeguards in place to protect your
interests. There are rules that barristers have to follow to ensure
that they remain independent and always act in the best interests
of their clients. For example, they cannot accept work where there
might be a conflict of interest. These rules cover things such as
insurance and the protection of client's data.
How are clients protected?
What is a conflict of interest?
What is the Data Protection Act and what are
barristers required to do under it?
All barristers are required to have professional indemnity
insurance. This is a type of insurance policy that will cover them
if they make a mistake which causes you to lose money. This means
that you can be assured that you will not lose out financially due
to the actions of your barrister.
Barristers cannot act for you in a situation where they would
have a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest is where a
person should act in a certain way but they have, or appear to
have, a reason that would make them act differently. For example,
if you instruct a barrister they should be acting in your best
interests. However, if the person you were up against in court was
a friend or family member of your barrister, it might look like
they would not do their best for you. This is a conflict of
The Data Protection Act controls how your personal information
is used by businesses, organisations, and the government.
Everyone who is responsible for using data has to follow rules
called 'data protection principles'. They must make sure the
Barristers have to comply with these rules. The Data Protection
Act gives you the right to find out what information is held about
you. This means you could write to a barrister asking for a copy of
information they hold about you. They are then legally required to
give you this. You can be charged a fee of up to £10 for getting
this information. You are entitled to receive a response to your
request within 40 days. There are some exceptions in the Act which
may mean that someone does not have to provide the information to
If you are not satisfied with the response of a barrister to
your request, you can complain to the Information Commissioner.
More information on how to do this can be found on their
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