Media comment

Profession
Barristers can now talk to the media about their cases, following removal of the prohibition from the Code of Conduct.


Rules 709.1 and 709.2 are removed with immediate effect and replaced with Bar Standards Board (BSB) guidance on the factors and risks in making such comments. Approving the change on 28 March, the Legal Services Board said that allowing barristers to talk to the media when “justified, appropriate and in their client‘s best interests” was consistent with regulatory objectives.

General Code of Conduct obligations of not engaging in conduct that is dishonest or otherwise discreditable, prejudicial to the administration of justice or likely to diminish public confidence, will also mitigate risk of undermining confidence in case conduct and outcome, the BSB said in its application.

Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar Council, agreed that barristers should be able to speak to the media “in appropriate circumstances”, but said that many will be hesitant to speak publicly about their live cases and hoped that the media would respect that position.

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