“Well-run chambers, which set out and comply with clear policies on matters such as complaints handling and pupillage training, will gain a low risk rating and will have little contact with the BSB,” announced the regulator, so that resources are concentrated on “those who need it most”.

Chambers will be assessed against potential risks of ineffective or dishonest governance; poor client service; insufficient consideration of equality and diversity; inadequate or unfair pupillage or training; and incompetent or dishonest financial management.

The new supervision arrangements were introduced following a consultation earlier this year and replace the monitoring system implemented in 2010, in which chambers were contacted to verify compliance in key areas.

Announcing the new scheme, the Bar Standards Board’s Head of Quality, Oliver Hanmer, said: “We all know that prevention is better than cure. This new approach is about smarter regulation for the Bar and better protection for the public. Working with us to prevent potential risks materialising will mean minimising the amount of supervision chambers receive, and a more targeted use of resources on our part.”

Chambers will receive an impact audit survey next spring to identify the impact that any potential breach of the regulatory rules would have on the public and consumers. Most chambers will then have to complete a Supervision Return form – detailing how effectively potential risks are being managed to help the BSB determine the likelihood of them materialising.

Matthew Nicklin QC, Chair of the BSB’s Standards Committee, assured Bar Conference delegates that this would not be a “Big Brother” style of monitoring (see p22).