22 September 2019

Q&As - Application process

How does the BSB assess whether an application should be approved?

We have adopted a risk-based approach to our regulatory activities so we can focus our attention in a proportionate and targeted way on the largest risks in the legal system.

All the information we request will help us assess the risks posed by your entity, taking into account:

  • How and by whom it will be governed and managed;
  • The types of legal services it intends to provide and how it delivers these;
  • Its impact on the wider legal services market; and
  • Risk assessment and mitigation procedures.

Part 3, Section E.1 of the Handbook sets out the mandatory requirements for authorisation which an entity must meet.  Where these are met, we assess the additional information provided by an applicant in a flexible and holistic way to determine whether the entity is appropriate for us to regulate. 

We encourage you to read the Entity Regulation Policy Statement which explains our approach in more detail.

Can a BSB entity have a practising address outside England and Wales? 

No.  A BSB entity must at all times have a practising address in England or Wales.  We will ask you to confirm this as part of your application to become regulated by us.  You must also let us know if there is any change to your practising address.

By "practising address" we mean the address from which reserved legal services are provided. 

A practising address is different from a registered address.  A registered office is the official address of an incorporated company, association or any other legal entity.  Generally it will form part of the public record and is required in most countries where the registered organisation or legal entity is incorporated.  The Handbook sets out the requirements for registered addresses for companies and partnerships at Rule S83.3.

What do the terms "HOLP" and "HOFA" mean?

Every entity must have a Head of Legal Practice ("HOLP") and Head of Finance and Administration (HOFA) at all times.  The HOLP must be an authorised individual, ie a lawyer with a current practising certificate.  The HOFA can be a non-authorised individual.  The same person can carry out both roles. 

We must carry out checks to make sure that the individuals responsible for these key roles are suitable and meet the criteria specified in Part 3 Section E.5 of the Handbook.

If your HOLP or HOFA is planning to leave the entity or leaves unexpectedly you must let us know as soon as possible and nominate another individual to us for approval.  Our contact details are entityregulation@barstandardsboard.org.uk or 0207 092 6801.

Does a BSB entity need to register with the Information Commissioner's Office?

Yes.  You can get guidance about the principles of data protection and the responsibilities of individuals and organisations on the Information Commissioner's Office website.

The Bar Council has also published useful guidance about obligations and duties which can be found through on their website.