06 January 2014

New Handbook and Code of Conduct come into effect with minor amendments

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) reminds the Bar that a new Handbook and revised Code of Conduct are effective from today.

The revised Code now forms Part Two of the new Handbook, which brings together all the BSB's regulations and guidance for barristers.

Some minor amendments have been made to the new rules and guidance - a summary of the changes is available on the BSB website. Amongst other things, these changes make consequential amendments arising from the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which transferred the jurisdiction of the Visitors to the Inns of Court to the High Court for new cases from 7 January 2014.

The new Handbook is available to download from the BSB website.

The biggest changes in the new Handbook are:

  • Self-employed barristers will be able to apply for an extension to their practising certificate to conduct litigation from 22 January 2014. 
  • Associations with others. Previous rules preventing self-employed barristers from sharing premises and forming associations with non-barristers have been removed, allowing barristers to pool together risks and resources in a more flexible way (subject to not misleading clients, notifying the BSB and keeping appropriate records).
  • Unregistered barristers. The Core Duties - the core elements of professional conduct - will apply to all barristers, including unregistered barristers when they are providing legal services. New guidance has been published for unregistered barristers.
  • Reporting serious misconduct by others. Regulated persons will be required to self-report and report others in relation to "serious misconduct".

More information about the key changes is available here.

There is also an electronic version of the Handbook, which is compatible with smart phones and tablets. It has an improved search and navigation function to help guide barristers through the Handbook and it can also be accessed offline on mobile devices once it is downloaded.

To help members of the Bar get to grips with the new Handbook the BSB has published a range of useful resources on its website, including: a CPD-accredited podcast, a webinar, and a short downloadable guide.

For more information about the new Handbook, email bsbcontactus@BarStandardsBoard.org.uk.


Notes to editors

Contact: the Bar Standards Board Press Office on 0207 6111 452.