BSB continues to promote liberalisation through Code of Conduct changes

There have been a number of decisions made by the Bar Standards Board in recent months which change or relax provisions in the Code of Conduct. They are intended to create greater opportunities and value for consumers of barristers services in the future, as the Bar will be permitted to offer their services in a number of different ways. The following applications to amend the Code have been submitted by the BSB to the Legal Services Board (who have taken over responsibility to approve such amendments from the Ministry of Justice), and this note is a short update on the progress of those applications:


 

  • ‘LDP Application’ – This application is the result of the Board decisions in November 2009 to permit barristers to work as managers in Legal Disciplinary Practices (LDPs), to work in a ‘dual capacity’, to hold shares in LDPs, to work in partnerships. At their request, further clarificatory information has been submitted to the LSB and they have indicated that an extension to the initial decision period to the 1 April should be sufficient time to secure approval
  • ‘The Structure of Self Employed Practice Application’ – This application alsofollowed the November 2009 Board meeting and frees the Bar up to be able offer services to consumers in a variety flexible ways, including permitting barristers to: share premises and office facilities with others, investigate and collect evidence and witness statements, attend police stations, conduct correspondence. The LSB has indicated that it wishes to consider this application alongside the third application, below. It too should be approved by 1 April.
    ‘The Public Access Application’ – This application follows the review of the public access scheme in 2009. It had been submitted to the MoJ who were not able to deal with it before handing the approval function across to the LSB at the beginning of 2010. It is a further set of changes designed to enable greater access to barristers’ services for consumers and permits barristers to: offer services in a greater range of areas than before, to engage in correspondence between parties. It too should be approved by 1 April. The BSB is committed to making appropriate changes to what is permitted in practice at the Bar to benefit consumers in terms of better accessing barristers’ service, broadening the range of services available from the Bar, creating better value for consumers through the creation of greater competition and bringing down costs whilst maintaining the high standards associated with the Bar. The BSB keenly anticipates the approval of all 3 applications by the LSB on 1April. (Full details of the content of all 3 applications may be found at www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/standardsandguidance/codeofconduct/rulesawaitingapproval/ ).

 

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