Twice as many barristers were disbarred last year than during the previous year, a report from the regulator revealed.
The annual Enforcement report from the Bar Standards Board (BSB) showed that 19 barristers were disbarred in 2016/17, an increase from seven in 2015/16.
It said that reports received from barristers by other members of the profession for serious misconduct rose to110 in 2016/17 from 80 in 2015/16. But only 53% of these reports resulted in a formal complaint being raised. This, it said, demonstrated that barristers were ‘rightly erring on the side of caution in meeting their obligations to report misconduct’.
The report showed that the general trend in complaints about barristers was down, with fewer enquiries and reports received leading to formal complaints being opened this year – 366 in 2016/17 compared with 434 last year.
Excluding an unusual number relating to one individual barrister, the report showed a lower number of complaints had been referred to disciplinary action this year too –down from 53 last year to 46 in 2016/17.
Commenting on the report, the BSB’s Director of Professional Conduct, Sara Jagger, said: ‘It is important that everyone can have confidence in the conduct of barristers. This report shows that we are succeeding in our efforts to take action against the small number of barristers whose professional conduct poses the biggest risk to the public.’