22 September 2019

BSB launches ambitious new programme to reshape legal education and training and tells the Bar: we want your help

31 October 2015

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today issued an invitation to members of the Bar to actively engage in a new and ambitious programme of reform that will, over the next three years, reshape legal education and training for future generations of barristers.

The programme, entitled "Future Bar Training", sets out a string of high level aims, including:

  • focusing training regulation on what is demonstrably required for professional practice;
  • ensuring that the regulatory structure does not stand in the way of candidates for the Bar from the fullest range of backgrounds;
  • aligning the regulation of education and training with our wider targeted and proportionate approach; and
  • maintaining standards for authorisation to practise as a barrister in a changing market.

This programme is underpinned by a fully consultative approach.

"Future Bar Training" consists of several work streams. These are:

  • clearly defining the benchmark that describes the knowledge and skills that all newly-qualified barristers should possess on their first day in practice;
  • making our rules covering education and training less prescriptive and ensuring that they are proportionate, transparent, and address the main risks; 
  • establishing a more flexible approach to continuing professional development (CPD);
  • reviewing how the BSB manages and shares data to support its regulatory objectives in education and training;
  • improving access routes to the profession by reviewing the vocational stage of training for the Bar and pupillage; and
  • the reassessment of regulation of the academic stage of qualification.

Commenting on the launch of the BSB's new programme, Director of Education and Training, Simon Thornton-Wood, said: "Future Bar Training" is a real opportunity for the Bar, the public, and the regulator to work together to shape a new era of legal education and training. We are committed to ensuring the Bar remains in a strong position to deliver to its fullest potential in a constantly evolving legal services landscape. We will only meet these needs by working closely with the Bar, consumers and all the users of its services."

Over the next three years, the BSB will be undertaking a number of workshops and open consultations on different work streams, all of which will be published and publicised from the BSB's website. Over the coming months, barristers should look out for ways in which they can get involved.

Thornton-Wood continued: "We will provide plenty of opportunities for the Bar to contribute to the process, as we try to articulate better the knowledge and skills required of a barrister for the future and redefine our approach to training. We will be looking closely at the current qualifying degree requirements, considering the future of the Bar Professional Training Course, seeking to improve the experience of pupillage for all involved, and introducing a new approach to CPD."

Last autumn, the BSB outlined a framework for the development of a new approach to legal education and training, following the publication of the Legal Education & Training Review (LETR) report in June 2013.

If you have any questions about Future Bar Training, please email FutureBarTraining@BarStandardsBoard.org.uk or call 020 7611 1444.


Notes to editors

About the Bar Standards Board
Our mission is to regulate the Bar so as to promote high standards of practice and safeguard clients and the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t.

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