30 September 2013

Important changes to Public Access training

New training requirements for Public Access barristers will come into force later this year.

From autumn 2013, all existing Public Access barristers will have 24 months to undertake additional top-up training or cease to conduct Public Access work. Anyone doing the training for the first time will have to do the new course

Any barrister who undertakes Public Access work without meeting the proper training requirements will be in breach of the Code of Conduct and could be subject to disciplinary action.

Following a review of Public Access training to assess whether the requirements were meeting expectations, it was concluded that a new training regime should be established to protect the interests of consumers. In addition, research by the BSB showed that many Public Access barristers wanted more advice on supporting vulnerable clients; the new training will meet that need.*

A small number will 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.

Recent rule changes have widened the Public Access scheme to include clients who might be entitled to Legal Aid. In a separate move, barristers of fewer than three years' practising experience will, for the first time, be able to undertake Public Access work if they complete the new Public Access training.

These changes will help ensure that clients are able to access a broader range of Public Access barristers and can be more confident of the standard of service they will receive.

Details of the courses are currently being finalised and will be published on our website in October/November. To apply for a waiver from the top up training, download the form on the right hand side of this webpage.

For more information please visit www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/publicaccess or get in touch with us via bsbcontactus@barstandardsboard.org.uk.


Notes to editors

Please see Bar Standards Board Public Access Survey,  http://bit.ly/134hRYX, February 2011