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Bar Standards Board moves to lay majority

21 September 2011

The Bar Standards Board has become the latest and only the second of the larger frontline regulators to appoint a board with a lay majority.

The new appointments will take effect in January 2012, when lay members will outnumber barrister members for the first time since its inception in 2006, with eight lay for seven barrister members.

“These appointments reinforce our commitment to regulate barristers in the public interest and enhance our position as the specialist regulator of advocacy in England and Wales,” said the board’s chair Baroness Deech.

Baroness Deech trained as a barrister but has never practised at the Bar and spent most of her career in academia. She is nonetheless regarded as a barrister member for the purposes of the Legal Services Act.

The only other regulatory board to have a lay majority is Ilex Professional Standards, the body set up by ILEX in 2008 to take over regulatory activities, which has four lay members and three legal executive members.

Earlier this year the LSB consumer panel expressed frustration at the delay by the two main professional bodies in the legal services sector – the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board – in setting up boards with lay majorities.

In its 2011 annual report in June, the panel renewed its call for lay majority boards for all eight frontline regulators, saying this was “essential to bolster public confidence and to cement the intention of the reforms to put consumers at the heart of regulation”.

The appointment of the new lay members at the BSB follows an accelerated process after the Legal Services Board threatened the Bar Council with enforcement action if it failed to set out a timetable for the move to lay majority.

It was also only after the LSB put further pressure on the Solicitors Regulation Authority in September 2009 that the Law Society agreed the SRA board would also have to have a lay majority.

At present, the SRA board still has a solicitor majority with eight lay members for nine solicitor members.

The new members of the BSB board are:

Rolande Anderson: a director of Genesis Housing and chair of its remuneration and diversity committees, Rolande Anderson is also a trustee of education charity Brightside, president of the Associates of Newnham College, Cambridge, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Rob Behrens: former complaints commissioner to the Bar Standards Board, Rob Behrens is independent adjudicator and chief executive of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education in England and Wales since 2008. He is also a trustee of the Fort Hare University Foundation, UK.

Tim Robinson: a qualified chartered accountant and former human resources manager at Price Waterhouse Coopers and former HR and corporate services partner at Accenture, Tim Robinson also sits as a member of the employment tribunal.

Andrew Sanders: professor of criminal law and criminology at the University of Birmingham and head of the school of law, Andrew Sanders is currently a member of the Criminal Justice Council and chair of the Committee of Heads of University Law Schools in England and Wales.

Dr Anne Wright CBE: chair and commissioner of the National Lottery Commission and a member of its Remuneration Committee and the Regulating with Excellence Reference Group, Anne Wright is a former chair of the School Teachers Review Body and member of the Board of English Partnerships and the Armed Forces Pay Review Body.

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