15 September 2019

People we regulate

The Bar Standards Board regulates barristers but it also regulates a number of other people, on this page you will find a description of all of the people we regulate.




Barristers are specialist legal advisers and court room advocates. They are trained to advise clients on the strengths and weaknesses of their case. They have specialist knowledge and experience in and out of court.


Unregistered Barristers


There are many barristers who do not have a practising certificate either by choice or because they do not qualify for a practising certificate.

Such barristers are called "Unregistered Barristers" because they are not on the public register of barristers who have practising certificates. Many unregistered barristers will have chosen careers other than law or may be retired.

Even though the rules which apply only to practising barristers do not apply to them, all unregistered barristers remain members of the profession and members of their Inn and are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. They remain subject to certain Core Duties and Conduct Rules at all times. If they provide legal services, they must comply with all the Core Duties and they have a responsibility not to mislead anyone about their status. This guidance will assist unregistered barristers to comply with their obligations contained in the BSB Handbook.


BSB Authorised Bodies


A BSB Authorised Body is a company or law firm regulated by the Bar Standards Board, it will have a focus on advocacy, litigation or specialist legal advice.

The Legal Services Act provides for a particular type of Authorised Body called an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) which has lay owners/managers. We are not yet able to authorise ABSs.

In the meantime all of the owners and managers of a BSB Authorised Body must be lawyers authorised by the Legal Services Act 2007, but they do not need to be barristers.


BSB Regulated Individuals and BSB Regulated Managers


We also regulate the managers, owners, partners, directors, Head of Legal Practice and Head of Finance and Administration of BSB Authorised Bodies.


Registered European Lawyers


We regulate nationals of European Union Member States who are authorised in any Member State to practise as a lawyer and are registered with the BSB.




We are able to take some regulatory action against the direct or indirect employees of BSB Authorised Bodies, Practising Barristers and Registered European Lawyers. We are able to take limited action against these employees by applying to temporarily or permanently disqualify them from certain activities and to prevent any BSB Authorised Bodies, Practising Barristers and Registered European Lawyers from appointing them or employing them.



The information in these pages applies to barristers, and other people we regulate, in England and Wales.

The law that regulates barristers and lawyers is complicated. We have simplified things to give you an idea of how it applies to your situation. Please don't rely on these pages as a complete statement of the law.

The quotes and cases we refer to are not always real but show a typical situation. We hope they help you to understand the system better and think about what might happen to the complaint.