04 October 2013

Changes to Public Access rules come into effect

Changes to Public Access rules come into effect today, as the Bar Standards Board (BSB) announces the appointment of the Bar Council and HJT to deliver new Public Access training schemes. The BSB also expects to be approving other providers shortly.

From today, existing Public Access barristers will have up to 24 months to undertake additional top-up training or cease to conduct Public Access work.

For the first time, as of today junior barristers of fewer than 3 years' practising experience will be able to undertake Public Access work if they complete the new Public Access training. They will then be required to:

  • maintain a log of Public Access cases they have dealt with, including any issues or problems which have arisen;
  • make this log available, on request, to the BSB for review; and
  • to seek feedback from their Public Access clients on the service provided;

Head of Professional Practice, Ewen Macleod said: "The new changes mean that clients will be able to access a broader range of Public Access barristers and can be more confident of the standard of service they will receive."

Any barrister who, two years from now, undertakes Public Access work without meeting the additional training requirements will be in breach of the Code of Conduct and could be subject to disciplinary action.

A small number of existing Public Access barristers may be eligible for a waiver from the top-up training, but they must apply for this. Those most likely to be eligible for a waiver will be able to demonstrate extensive experience of undertaking Public Access work and Legal Aid cases involving vulnerable clients, and the associated knowledge and understanding required.

For more information about changes to the rules, barristers are advised to visit: www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/publicaccess or email us at bsbcontactus@barstandardsboard.org.uk.

For further information about the training schemes, barristers should contact the Bar Council or HJT via the details below.


Notes to editor

Contact details for the HJT Office are: 020 3405 2942 or enquiries@hjt-training.co.uk. Contact details for the Bar Council are: 0207 611 1472 or PAenquiry@BarCouncil.org.uk

The Public Access scheme allows a barrister, with the approved Public Access training, to be instructed directly by a member of the public without the need for a solicitor.

Contact: the Bar Standards Board Press Office on 0207 611 1452