15 March 2012

BSB acts to resolve effect of past reappointment procedures of Council of the Inns of Court panel members

The Bar Standards Board today confirmed the timetable for assessing the impact of past reappointment procedures for Council of the Inns of Court tribunal members.

The move comes after the Bar regulator found that not all members had been formally reappointed for their second terms following their initial appointment by the Council of the Inns of Court: the independent body tasked by the Bar Standards Board with responsibility for panel member recruitment and appointments.

The move affects some 80 tribunal members who have sat on tribunals in the past. Initial assessment of which panels have been affected will be completed by 30 March 2012. The schedule of forthcoming hearings remains unaffected.

Baroness Ruth Deech, Chair of the Bar Standards Board said:

"This matter is of concern to the BSB but we are actively managing the situation. In addition to ensuring that everything necessary is done to resolve these issues, we also support the timely review by COIC of its disciplinary functions. We will be actively monitoring progress in relation to the situation and we will also consider the future handling of these matters. The protection of the public, the barristers involved and the standing of the profession demand the most rigorous disciplinary procedures."

Explanatory notes

The Bar Standards Board operates a system whereby all disciplinary matters, as well as other relevant actions taken under the Code of Conduct, are heard by independently convened panels. To ensure the proper independence of those panels, the BSB has delegated to the Council of the Inns of Court (COIC), through a Memorandum of Understanding, the task of providing and administering the necessary panels. Under the terms of the MOU, COIC is the body responsible for recruiting, appointing and administering relevant panels.