History made as Code relaxed

Barristers can work in partnerships, attend police stations, conduct correspondence and investigate evidence under historic changes to the Bar’s Code of Conduct.

They can also become managers of Legal Disciplinary Practices (“LDPs”); work in both a self-employed and employed capacity at the same time; hold shares in LDPs; share premises and office facilities with others; and investigate and collect witness statements and evidence.

The changes were made as a result of three applications by the Bar Standards Board (“BSB”) to relax the Code. The Legal Services Board approved the BSB’s application in April, allowing barristers to change their working practices in accordance with the Legal Services Act 2007.

The Public Access Scheme, under which members of the public can instruct a barrister direct without using a solicitor, has been extended so that barristers can offer a wider range of services and engage in correspondence between parties. The number of barristers listed on the Scheme is increasing. In order to join, barristers must have been fully qualified for three years and have completed a special course.

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.”