22 January 2018

Authorisation to Conduct Litigation

New requirements under the BSB Handbook

Now that the BSB Handbook has come into effect, we have introduced a new procedure for authorising barristers to conduct litigation.

If you are a practising barrister, whether holding a self-employed, employed or dual practice practising certificate, you are able to apply to the BSB for individual authorisation to conduct litigation. If your application is successful, you will be able to conduct litigation, though you may be subject to the 'qualified person' requirements below. The authorisation to conduct litigation will be added to your practising certificate, as an extension to existing practising rights.

If you decide to apply for authorisation to conduct litigation, you will need to satisfy the BSB that you have:

  • appropriate systems in your place of practice to enable you to conduct litigation;
  • the requisite skills and knowledge of litigation procedure to enable you to provide a competent service to clients; and
  • adequate insurance.

Guidance from a 'qualified person'

Barristers of fewer than three years' standing (or less than one year's standing for employed barristers supplying legal services to their employer only) will need to confirm that they have a qualified person in their place of practice, who is readily available to provide guidance to them when conducting litigation.

A qualified person is a barrister, or other authorised person such as a solicitor, who has been entitled to practise, and has practised, for at least six years in the previous eight years (and has made such practise his or her primary occupation for the last two years). He or she must also be entitled to conduct litigation. Additionally, a qualified person must not act as a qualified person in relation to more than two other people.

How to apply - self-assessment questionnaire

Applications are made normally through Barrister Connect and include a self-assessment questionnaire.

The questionnaire asks you about the systems to manage litigation in your place of practice, as well as your skills and knowledge (see the Guidance for Applications for more details). 

To log in to the Barrister Connect system, you will need the username and personal password provided to you by the Bar Council Records Office. If you have lost or forgotten these details, please contact the Records Office on 020 7242 0934.

If you are unable to apply through Barrister Connect, you may apply using the copy of the application form available under 'Resources' on the right hand side of this page.

Application fee

There is a one-off £90 fee per application for authorisation, to cover the costs associated with the authorisation process. 

Find out more

For more information, please contact: authorisations@barstandardsboard.org.uk