New BSB Handbook to give barristers more freedom and flexibility

Numerous practising restrictions will soon be lifted after the Legal Services Board approved the new Bar Standards Board (BSB) Code of Conduct for barristers.


The revised Code now forms Part Two of the new BSB ‘Handbook’, which brings together all the BSB’s regulations and guidance for barristers into one publication. The new Handbook, which includes the revised Code, will come into force on 6 January 2014.

The new Handbook’s approach is less prescriptive, with more focus and guidance on what the outcome of a rule should be, rather than attempting to define how a barrister should act in every situation.

The biggest changes for barristers are:

  • Self-employed barristers will be able to apply for an extension to their practising certificate to conduct litigation.
  • Associations with others. Previous rules preventing selfemployed barristers from sharing premises and forming associations with non-barristers have been removed. This will allow barristers to pool together risks and resources so long as the interests of clients are protected.
  • Reporting misconduct. Barristers will be required to selfreport and report others in relation to ‘serious misconduct’.
  • Unregistered barristers. The Core Duties - the core elements of professional conduct - will apply to all barristers, including unregistered barristers when they are providing legal services.
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