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Bar Standards Board moves to lay majority

27 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 the board’s 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 boards to have a lay majority are 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, IPReg, the regulatory board for CIPA and ITMA, and CLSB, the regulatory board for ACL.

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.

“While use of our enforcement powers is always one of the range of options, we are pleased that informal resolution has been enough to ensure that the Bar is taking the necessary steps to achieve compliance,” a spokesperson told Solicitors Journal.

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

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

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Regulators Procedures Police & Prisons The Bar