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BSB's Proposed Rule Overhaul: Strengthening Safeguards for Public Protection

BSB's Proposed Rule Overhaul: Strengthening Safeguards for Public Protection


BSB aims to bolster public protection through proposed rule changes enhancing disciplinary powers

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) made headlines in June 2023 by initiating a consultation process. This aimed to gather opinions on proposed amendments aimed at enhancing the BSB's authority, along with that of Disciplinary Tribunals, in safeguarding the public by potentially limiting or suspending a barrister's practice on an interim basis.

Today, the BSB unveiled a synopsis of the responses received during the consultation, alongside their official response. Out of the four respondents, all supported the rationale behind the proposed amendments, and their suggested modifications have been integrated into the new rules.

Upon receiving approval from the BSB Board, the decision has been made to progress with specific rule changes. These changes are contingent upon endorsement by the Legal Services Board and encompass:

  1. Empowering the Disciplinary Tribunal to impose interim restrictions on a barrister's practising certificate or temporarily withdraw practising rights. This authority applies when a misconduct finding has been established, yet the final decision on sanctions is deferred to a later date. This measure aims to safeguard the public and their interests.

  2. Broadening the BSB's authority to refer an individual to an interim suspension panel. This addition introduces a new ground for referral, allowing action when it is deemed "necessary to protect the public or is otherwise in the public interest."

Pending approval by the Legal Services Board, the anticipated timeline for the implementation of these rule amendments is expected to be in the upcoming year. The BSB assures the public of further updates in due course.