15 December 2018

BSB seeks views on how to recover costs for overseeing new Bar training rules

6 December 2018

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today launched a consultation seeking views on the charging model it proposes to introduce for organisations providing Bar training. These organisations are known as Authorised Education and Training Organisations (AETOs).

The consultation considers how the BSB should recover its costs in authorising and supervising AETOs under the new Bar training rules and in managing the centralised examinations that form part of the qualification process for new barristers.

The new rules permit AETOs to offer training to prospective barristers under a limited number of permissible training pathways. They also introduce changes to the Bar training curriculum and how it is assessed, including running more sittings for the centralised examinations directly managed by the BSB. These changes, which have been the subject of extensive consultation, add to the BSB's costs.

Today's consultation seeks views on the extent to which the costs of authorising and supervising Bar training should be met by AETOs - bearing in mind that many vocational training providers pass on these costs to students - or by the profession in the form of contributions from barristers' Practising Certificate Fees (PCF).

Regulating the vocational component of Bar training is currently being subsidised by the PCF. The BSB does not believe that the Bar should subsidise the full costs associated with every component of training for all prospective barristers, so the fees proposed in the consultation reflect this.

The consultation also seeks views, however, on how the cost of the Professional Ethics examination to be taken during pupillage should be recovered. The regulator proposes that this should be fully subsidised by the PCF in order to avoid discouraging parts of the Bar from offering pupillage, to reduce negative equality impacts, and to support new entrants to the profession.

BSB Director of Regulatory Assurance, Oliver Hanmer, said:

"Our fees are only a small element of the overall cost of Bar training. But our aim is always to control our costs to ensure we are providing value-for-money and that our fees are not having a significant effect on the accessibility or affordability of training. We would like to know what people think of our proposed approach to cost recovery as explained in the consultation."

Subject to Legal Services Board approval, the new Bar training rules will come into force in early 2019.

You can read the full consultation paper here.

The closing date for this consultation is5.00pm on Friday 1 March 2019.

ENDS

Notes to editors

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

About Authorised Education and Training Organisations (AETOs)

Within the new Bar training rules, AETOs will include organisations such as vocational training providers (currently, Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) providers), pupillage training organisations and other approved training organisations.

Contact: For all media enquiries call 0207 611 1452 or email press@barstandardsboard.org.uk