Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulation of legal disciplinary practices

The SRA plans to commence the regulation of legal disciplinary practices (LDP) in March 2009. The consultation paper proposes that barristers should be able to join an LDP as either an employee or as a manager.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the amendments to the Code necessary to enable barristers to practise as managers of LDPs will be finalised and then hopefully submitted to the Ministry of Justice for approval in June 2009. Barristers will not be able to join an LDP as a manager before then, and possibly not until the rule changes have been approved by the Ministry of Justice. However, by
this time, the regulatory powers of the SRA in relation to barrister managers should have ‘bedded down’ and the Board will have been
able to consider the views of the Bar following the consultation. But a barrister can be an employee of an LDP under and subject to the existing provisions of the Code (Part V) that apply to employed barristers generally.

In the interim period between submission of the rules for approval and their implementation, the BSB will consider whether a procedure should be developed to allow barristers who wish to be managers of an LDP to apply for a waiver of the relevant provisions of the Code of Conduct to enable them to do so. More information on the waiver process will be placed on the BSB’s website in due course. In the meantime if barristers have queries on the implications of the Act they are advised to check the Legal Services Act section on the BSB’s website and in particular the frequently asked questions. If the answer can’t be found there please contact the BSB’s Professional Practice Team on 020 7611 1444.