Significant changes to the Code of Conduct now for the first time permit barristers to:
- Become managers of Legal Disciplinary Practices (LDPs)
- Work in partnerships
- Work in both a self-employed capacity and employed capacity at the same time (although not in the same case)
- Hold shares in LDPs
- Share premises and office facilities with others
- Investigate and collect evidence and witness statements
- Attend police stations
- Conduct correspondence
In addition, there has been a significant extension to the Public Access Scheme.
The Legal Services Board (LSB) approved three applications, submitted by the BSB, that change or relax provisions in the Code of
Conduct relating to barristers’ working practices. The code amendments and the guidance approved by the LSB take immediate effect.
The LSB (which has taken over responsibility to approve such amendments from the Ministry of Justice), approved the following applications:
- The Public Access Scheme Application – This application follows the review of the public access scheme in 2009. It is a further set of changes designed to enable greater direct access to barristers’ services for consumers and permits barristers to offer services in an enlarged area and to engage in correspondence between parties.
- LDP Application – This application arises from 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; and to work in partnerships.
- The Structure of Self-Employed Practice Application – This application also arose from the November 2009 Board meeting and in many ways complements the first by enabling the Bar to offer services to consumers in a variety of flexible ways, including permitting barristers to share premises and office facilities with others; investigate and collect evidence and witness statements; attend police stations; and conduct correspondence.
Commenting on the LSB’s approval of the BSB’s Code amendments, Baroness Deech, BSB Chair, said:
‘The BSB is committed to making appropriate changes to permitted practice at the Bar to benefit its clients in terms of greater access to
barristers’ services, broadening the range of services available from the Bar, giving consumers more choice and bringing down costs
whilst maintaining the high standards associated with the Bar. The BSB is therefore very pleased that the LSB has approved these three applications as submitted.’