24 June 2013

Regulator’s handling of complaints against barristers ‘prompt, thorough and fair’

Complaints against barristers are handled promptly and fairly, according to a new independent report published today.

The report, drafted by Independent Observer, Isobel Leaviss, commended the Bar Standards Board (BSB) for its fair, consistent and well-reasoned decision making; as well as its "genuine commitment to continuous improvement".

The findings of the new report were presented to the Bar Standards Board last night. In it, the Independent Observer praised the "collective dedication" displayed by members of the Professional Conduct Department (PCD) and Committee to ensuring that the BSB's complaints system is robust.

The report also sets out a number of recommendations designed to help further enhance the regulator's disciplinary processes - including publishing a summary of the appointments process for its prosecutors at Disciplinary Tribunals, and assigning new prosecutors an experienced 'mentor'. All the recommendations have been accepted and most have already been implemented. 

Chair of the Bar Standards Board's Professional Conduct Committee, Simon Lofthouse QC, said: "As a regulator that works to protect the public interest, we warmly welcome the findings of this independent report, which is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of BSB staff and, in particular, the PCD and members of the Committee." 

The Independent Observer provides independent assurance to the Governance, Risk & Audit Committee, and ultimately the Bar Standards Board, that the BSB's complaints and disciplinary system is operating in line with its aims and objectives.


Notes to editors 

The Independent Observer's Annual Report June 2012 - May 2013 is available here
The Bar Standards Board regulates barristers called to the Bar in England and Wales in the public interest. It is responsible for:
• Setting the education and training requirements for becoming a barrister
• Setting continuing training requirements to ensure that barristers' skills are maintained throughout their careers
• Setting standards of conduct for barristers
• Monitoring the service provided by barristers to assure quality, and handling complaints against barristers and taking disciplinary or other action where appropriate

Contact: the Bar Standards Board Press Office on 02076111392.