18 July 2019

The Handbook publication

You can download and print a colour coded copy of version 4.1 of the Handbook, which came into force on 1 July 2019.

In addition, you can download and print an index for the Handbook.

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BSB Handbook cover July 2019

Version 4.1 of our Handbook is available to download above. Older versions of our Handbook are also available, see the archive on the right hand side of this webpage.

Version 4.1 (July 2019) - Changes

New Price, Service and Redress Transparency Rules

Version 4.1 of the Handbook includes the new price, service and redress transparency rules for self-employed barristers, chambers and BSB entities. The new rules are designed to improve the information available to the public before they engage the services of a barrister, and follow recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority that legal regulators should introduce new requirements in this area.  

The rules require all self-employed barristers, chambers and BSB-regulated entities to publish specified information about their services, including which types of legal service they provide, their most commonly used pricing models (such as fixed fee or hourly rate) and details of their clients' rights of redress. As set out in the BSB's price transparency policy statement, Public Access barristers providing certain types of services are also required to publish additional price and service information. The BSB has also published guidance to help the profession comply with the new rules.

Fourth Edition (April 2019) - Changes

New Bar Qualification Rules

The fourth edition of the Handbook includes the new Bar Qualification Rules. Our recent reforms to education and training for the Bar aim to ensure that training to become a barrister is more accessible, affordable and flexible and that it maintains the high standards of entry expected at the Bar. At their core, the Bar Qualification Rules set out the minimum training requirements to qualify and practise as a barrister. The rules also bring into force a new system for Authorised Education and Training Organisations (AETOs) to deliver one or more of the three components of training (academic, vocational and pupillage or work-based learning) in accordance with our Authorisation Framework. To coincide with the publication of the Bar Qualification Rules, the BSB has also published a new  Bar Qualification Manual. This provides further guidance on the new rules for AETOs, students, pupils, and transferring lawyers.

Standard of Proof Change

The fourth edition of the Handbook also includes the change to the standard of proof used when determining allegations of professional misconduct.  As of 1 April 2019, the standard of proof for such allegations has changed from the criminal standard to the civil standard.  Any conduct occurring on or after 1 April 2019 will be considered applying the civil standard of proof. However, the criminal standard of proof will continue to apply to any conduct that occurred before that date. This change has been made following a public consultation in 2017 and will bring the Bar's disciplinary arrangements in line with those of other professional regulators.