Authorisation to practise arrangements

The Bar Standards Board has recently published a consultation paper on proposals for revisions to barristers’ practising arrangements. In particular the paper covers:

1. The introduction of an authorisation to practise regime;
2. The regulatory arrangements for barristers who do not have full practising entitlements; and
3. The relationship of the above to the Barristers’ Register

Section 13(2) of the Legal Services Act 2007 states that a person is entitled to carry on a reserved legal activity where the person is an authorised person in relation to that activity. Reserved legal activities are:

1. The exercise of a right of audience
2. The conduct of litigation
3. Reserved instrument activities
4. Probate activities
5. Notarial activities and
6. The administration of Oaths

Authorisation to carry out these activities falls to the relevant approved regulator. The BSB must therefore have in place arrangements that explicitly grant barristers authorisation to undertake reserved legal activities. The consultation paper puts forward proposals for an authorisation to practise regime for barristers. It is proposed that the new regime would be introduced towards the end of 2011 so that it is in place for renewals at the start of 2012. Transitional arrangements will be required.

The new regime will impact on all practising barristers and views are encouraged on both the broad principles of the proposals as well as the practicalities of how they might operate.

The paper also explores options for the regulation of barristers without full entitlement to practise. This is an issue with a long and complicated history and views are sought on whether the proposed approach, as set out in the paper, is practicable and proportionate.

A copy of the paper can be found on the BSB’s website ( The deadline for responses is 1 June 2010.