Inns to retain ‘essential role’ in barrister training

Barristers will be required to undergo police checks before being Called to the Bar, under plans announced by the regulator.

Following a consultation on future Bar training the Bar Standards Board (BSB) published a policy statement outlining the future role of the Inns of Court and introducing more robust checks to determine the suitability of those being Called.

Alongside the administration of the ‘Fit and Proper Person’ test, prospective barristers will require a ‘standard’ criminal record check, known as a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Students will continue to be required to join an Inn and complete a minimum number of professional development events, known as ‘qualifying sessions’ – formerly referred to as ‘dining’ – before they are Called.

The BSB said that the Inns were ‘uniquely placed’ to provide that ‘important function’, but added that it will consider in more detail how many sessions would be appropriate.

The regulator recommended that more of the qualifying sessions should be done outside London, through collaboration with circuits and regional training providers.

Ewen Macleod, BSB Director of Strategy and Policy, said: ‘The Inns of Court play an important role throughout a barrister’s career and most of the consultation responses that we received reflect a desire for their continued involvement before prospective barristers are called to the Bar.’

Any new rules will be subject to approval by the BSB and Legal Services Board, and are expected to come into effect in 2019.

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