24 August 2019

Frequently asked questions - Authorisation to Practise 2019/20

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions regarding the AtP process. If you find your question has not been answered below, please contact out Records Team who deal with barristers' queries regarding the AtP process. Please contact us if you have any queries about any of this information.

1. How do I apply for a practising certificate?

If you are making a renewal application, please log into MyBar. After logging in, you will see a banner across the top of the homepage. Towards the right-hand side of the banner there will be a 'Renew Online' button. Click this to start the renewal process. If you are returning to practice, have been unregistered or if you are applying for your first practising certificate, this banner/button will not be visible. In this case, please see the menu on the left-hand side of the screen and click 'My Practising Certificate' and then click 'New or Returning Authorisation to Practise'. If you are still unable to navigate the renewal process, please contact the Bar Council Records Department on 020 7242 0934 or email Records@BarCouncil.org.uk.

2. If the deadline is 31 March, why does my current practising certificate show it is valid until 30 April?

The practising certificate year runs from 1 April to 31 March each year. Renewals must be completed by 31 March to be on time for the new practising year (in accordance with Rule S62 in the BSB Handbook). The month of April serves as protection for barristers who for any reason fail to complete the ATP process by the required deadline. It should not be relied upon for usual practice and you must renew by 31 March.

3. What happens if I miss the deadline of 31 March and fail to complete the renewal process by 30 April?

Barristers who fail to complete the renewal process by Tuesday 30 April 2019 will no longer appear on the BSB Barrister' Register and will not be authorised to practise. It is a criminal offence under the Legal Services Act 2007 to carry on any reserved legal activities without a practising certificate which authorises you to do so. From 1 May 2019, any barrister believed to be practising without a practising certificate will be reported to the BSB, who will take such action as is considered appropriate.

4. Do I need a practising certificate?

You will need a practising certificate if you wish to hold yourself out as a barrister in connection with the supply of legal services or to undertake any reserved legal activities. Reserved legal activities include exercising rights of audience, conducting litigation, reserved instrument activities, probate activities and the administration of oaths 'Legal services' are more broadly defined in the BSB Handbook.

5. What type of practising certificate do I need?

You will need an employed practising certificate if you hold yourself out as a barrister when supplying legal advice to your employer. You are required to hold an employed practising certificate if you are holding yourself out as a barrister whilst supplying legal services to an authorised body or to their clients. If you work for an authorised body which uses a non-authorised body to contract with you as an employee, you should nonetheless apply for an employed barrister (authorised body) practising certificate. However, if you undertake any reserved legal activities you must ensure that your arrangement is compatible with section 15 of the Legal Services Act 2007. You will need a practising certificate regardless of how much time you spend undertaking these activities. Please note the above is not an exhaustive list of situations that require you to hold a practising certificate. If you are still unsure whether the work you are undertaking requires you to hold a practising certificate, please contact Ethical Enquiries Service on 020 7611 1307 or email Ethics@BarCouncil.org.uk

6. Do I have to apply online for a practising certificate?

Using MyBar is compulsory when applying for a practising certificate. MyBar will ensure a better service for you and give you more control over the data we hold for you. Should you need to discuss alternate arrangements, please contact the Bar Council Records Department on 020 7242 0934 or email Records@BarCouncil.org.uk

7. How do I find out how much my 2019-20 Practising Certificate Fee (PCF) will be?

The PCF varies by band of income barristers fall within. Please see below. 


Income Band

2019/20 Fees


£0 - £30,000



£30,001 - £60,000



£60,001- £90,000



£90,001 - £150,000



£150,001 - £240,000



£240,001 - £500,000



£5000,000 - £1,000,000



£1,000,000 and above








  • For self-employed barristers, income should be based on the calendar year ending December 2018 that you have or will declare to BMIF.
  • For employed barristers, please use the income from the tax year ending 5 April 2018.

 8. After renewing, how do I receive my practising certificate?

Your certificate will be stored in MyBar as a PDF file, which you will be able to view and print. Your practising certificate will not be sent to you in the post.

9. I am going on parental leave and am planning to cease practice. What do I have to do?

You must be authorised to practise and pay for your practising certificate until you cease practising. Barristers are encouraged to retain their practising certificate during parental leave. When renewing your practising certificate or returning to practice following your parental leave, you should select band 1 for your practising certificate fee. Alternatively, if you decide to unregister, you will be entitled to a pro rata refund of the core fee element of your PCF when you go on parental leave.

10. How do I change my practising status?

You will need to complete the 'Change my practising status' application via MyBar. This is found under 'My practising details'. An example of a change of status is changing from a self-employed capacity to an employed capacity. Please note you will need to review your practising addresses once you have submitted the application. This will be confirmed at the end of the process. If you are changing your status, you are required to update your record and inform us of the change within 28 days.

11. Who will be asked for website information?

All self-employed barristers, employed barristers in BSB entities and barristers practising in dual capacity must notify the BSB of their chambers/entities website addresses on which they offer legal services. If you operate multiple websites for your practice, please provide each website.

12. Do pupils require a practising certificate to be authorised to practise?

Pupils in their non-practising period of pupillage or other forms of work-based learning do not need to be authorised to practise, as they are not entitled to do anything that constitutes practice as a barrister. Pupil barristers in their practising period of pupillage or other forms or work-based learning need to have a provisional practising certificate. However, by submitting a satisfactorily completed certificate of completion or exemption from the non-practising period of pupillage or other forms of work-based learning and registering a practising period they will be issued with a provisional practising certificate, which will be valid for the duration of the practising period. Once pupillage has been completed and you have satisfactorily submitted your details to confirm completion, you will be sent details about how to change your status to a practising or unregistered barrister, depending on whether you are practising as a barrister.

13. I have just completed pupillage and am now in employment. There is no one suitable to be my 'qualified person'. Can I be authorised to practise?

You can be authorised to practise. However, you will not be entitled to supply legal services to the public (eg to clients of your employer), exercise any rights of audience or conduct litigation.

14. Which year am I declaring compliance with CPD?

You are declaring compliance for the previous CPD calendar year. This means during the 2019 AtP process you will be declaring compliance for the period 1 January 2018 - 31 December 2018. If you did not hold a practising certificate during that period, complete the declaration based on the last calendar year you held a practising certificate. Any barrister who has not completed their CPD requirements will not be refused authorisation. However, they will be asked to list what action they are taking to remedy this situation. Failure to take further action to resolve your CPD requirements may result in you being referred to the BSB's Supervision Department. New practitioners are subject to a three-year programme and therefore should select this option on the declaration. If you are unsure, please contact cpdrecords@barstandardsboard.org.uk to check.

15. I am a barrister in chambers and am not sure whether I have insurance cover with BMIF (Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund). Can I be authorised?

Barristers who are unable to confirm that they have insurance will not be authorised to practise. Please contact BMIF on 020 7621 0405 or email info@barmutual.co.uk to confirm whether you have cover or to arrange cover.

16. I am a barrister employed by the Government and do not have insurance. Do I need to complete the insurance declaration?

All barristers are required to complete the insurance declaration confirming that they have and will maintain such insurance as may be required under the Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook. As Government barristers are not required to hold insurance, compliance with the Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook for them means not actually requiring insurance. Therefore, this category of barristers will be able to complete the declaration without needing to have insurance.

17. I am an employed barrister, providing legal services to my employer only. Do I need to complete the insurance declaration?

Although insurance is only required under rC76 for barristers who are providing legal services to the public, you will still be required to complete the declaration confirming you have and will maintain such insurance as may be required by the Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook. However, in this case, compliance with the Code of Conduct means not requiring insurance. It may, however, be prudent for this category of barrister to confirm with their employer that they have appropriate insurance in place to cover actions of their employees, where the employee is personally liable.

18. I am a self-employed barrister practising overseas. Am I required to hold insurance and be entered as a member with BMIF?

Unless you have previously been granted a waiver from this requirement, yes. Where you hold a self-employed practising certificate, you must be a member of BMIF (under rC76.2 of the Code of Conduct in the BSB Handbook). rC76 also requires that 'you must ensure that you have insurance (taking into account the nature of your practice) which covers all the legal services you supply to the public'.

19. Who should I contact if I have questions about rS15 (previously known as rule 206 of the Code of Conduct)?

You should contact the Ethical Enquiries Service on 020 7611 1307 or email Ethics@BarCouncil.org.uk Alternatively, you may find the following BSB Guidance for barristers without practising certificates (unregistered barristers) who supply legal services useful.

20. Who will be asked practice area information?

All barristers who are renewing their practising certificate are required to provide practice area information to be displayed on the Barrister's register.

21. Why are you using the BMIF categories?

To ensure we can use the information about the market for barrister's services effectively, we need comparable data between the employed and self-employed Bar. The self-employed Bar already provide this information to BMIF. Using the same categories for the employed Bar is the least burdensome approach for the Bar.

22. I work as a general in-house counsel. I advise on a huge variety of different issues, covering most or all the practice areas listed. How should I complete my declaration?

We recognise that this is the case for some employed barristers. Therefore, we have added an additional category for employed barristers - "General", as we recognise that for some employed barristers it can be challenging to categorise areas of practice as work can overlap into a number of different practice areas. If you have selected "General", you will also be required to indicate those other BMIF categories which are most relevant. We have defined 'most relevant' as the top 3 categories, based on the percentage of time spent working in each area.

23. How do I allocate my percentage of time?

Step 1 Calculate the number of average hours work over the year. For example, I work on average eight hours a day, five days a week and 52 weeks a year. 8 x 5 = 40 hours a week 40 x 52 = 2088 hours work over a year Step 2 Estimate the number of hours spent over the year on each area of practice. For example, 1250 hours on crime and 840 hours on tax. Step 3 Divide the number of hours for each area of practice by the number of hours worked in the year. Multiply this by 100. Example I worked approximately 2088 hours over the year (based on an average of 40 hours a week). I spent about 1250 hours on crime and 840 on tax over the year. Crime - 1250 / 2088 x 100 = 60% Tax - 840 / 2088 x 100 = 40% Please note you should round to the nearest 5%

24. Will you publish my practice area information?

The areas of practice you select as key areas of practice will be published on the barristers register, but we will clarify on the Barristers' Register that barristers are permitted to undertake work outside of their key practice area provided they are competent to do so.

25. I am a dual capacity barrister. What information do I need to provide?

You should provide the information required of both the employed and self-employed Bar, relevant to your practice.

26. Who is required to register for Youth Court work?

The requirement is for all barristers who have accepted instructions within the last 28 days to work in the Youth Court, or those who intend to do so in the next 12 months. Barristers will be asked as part of the annual in MyBar. Pupils, third six pupils and those who have undertaken work since AtP and were not registered to do so will also be expected to register. If you have recently undertaken work in the Youth Court without expecting to do so and have not registered with the BSB to undertake Youth Court work, you should register within 28 days of accepting instructions if you have not already done so. If you are a fully qualified barrister, you can register for Youth Court work through MyBar. If you are a pupil, you can do this by emailing pupillagerecords@BarStandardsBoard.org.uk.

27. I am a pupil. Do I need to register for Youth Court work?

Yes. When you register for your provisional practising certificate with Pupillage Records, there will be a voluntary question about whether you anticipate undertaking Youth Court work during the second six of your pupillage. You should register with our Pupillage Records Team if you did not make the declaration and subsequently accept instructions for a case in the Youth Court. This can be done by emailing pupillagerecords@barstandardsboard.org.uk.

28. I am currently completing a third six. Do I need to register for Youth Court work?

Yes, if you have accepted instructions within the last 28 days for work in the Youth Court, or if you intend to do so in the next 12 months. You should register through the MyBar portal.

29. What if after registering for Youth Court work, I am no longer undertaking Youth Court work?

You should deregister if you are no longer undertaking Youth Court work and do not intend to do so in future. You can do so through MyBar. This will be updated on the BSB register within 24 hours.

30. Where do I get more information on Youth Court declarations?

If you require any further information or have any questions, please contact the Supervision Team at the BSB by emailing supervision@barstandardsboard.org.uk.

31. Where can I find a copy of The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations?

You can find the Regulations here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/made These Regulations came into force on 26 June 2017.

32. Does the work I do fall within the scope of the Regulations?

Regulations 11 and 12 set out who is subject to the Regulations:

Regulation 11; http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/regulation/11/made

Regulation12: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/regulation/12/made You should read the Regulations carefully to help you to decide whether the work you are doing falls within their scope. HM Treasury has decided that there should be one set of guidance for the legal sector in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The BSB has been working with the other legal regulators and representatives from the professions to develop the joint guidance, which is available here: /regulatory-requirements/anti-money-launderingand-counter-terrorist-financing/ You should read this guidance to help you to decide whether the work that you do falls within the scope of the Regulations. HM Treasury has confirmed that the following would not generally be viewed as participation in a financial transaction and therefore not within the scope of the Regulations:

  • payment on account of costs to a legal professional or payment of a legal professional's bill;
  • provision of legal advice;
  • participation in litigation or a form of alternative dispute resolution. The Bar Council has produced additional guidance with some case studies to further assist barristers, chambers and BSB entities in deciding whether the work that they do falls within the scope of the Regulations: http://www.barcouncilethics.co.uk/documents/money-laundering-terrorist-financing/ If, after reading the Regulations and the guidance, you are still unsure about whether the work that you do falls within the scope of the Regulations, you can contact the Bar Council Ethical Enquiries Service: https://www.barcouncilethics.co.uk/ethical-enquiries-service/

33. Currently, I don't do work that falls under the Regulations, but the cab rank rule means that I might do in the future. What should I declare?

We only require you to confirm annually, at Authorisation to Practise ("AtP"), whether you are undertaking, have current instructions or in the last 12 months have undertaken work which falls within the scope of the Regulations. Regulation 56 says that you must not act as a trust or company service provide ("TCSP": see Trust or Company Service Provider guidance) unless you are registered with HMRC: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/made If you commence work as a TCSP after AtP, you should contact supervisionaml@barstandardsboard.org.uk to ensure that you are included on the register.

34. What is a trust or company service provider ("TCSP")?

TCSPs are defined in the Regulations as follows: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/made

35. What is a DBS basic check?

Do I need to obtain one? Do I need to submit it to the Bar Standards Board? How long does it take to obtain one? How much does it cost? A DBS basic check is a criminal record check provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service ("DBS") which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions. The Regulations impose certain obligations on the Bar Standards Board ("the BSB"), including to ensure that only those who are fit and proper persons are conducting work that falls within the scope of the Regulations (regulation 26). The DBS basic check is a one-off requirement. Barristers who have already obtained a Basic Disclosure Check (as it was formerly known) or a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check since being Called to the Bar will not be required to obtain a new check. Barristers who have not declared at Authorisation to Practise but who subsequently accept instructions for work within the scope of the Regulations must request a DBS basic check upon accepting instructions and only begin the work after the result of the check has been received. You are not required to send the check to the BSB, but should be prepared to do so if asked. You can obtain a basic check yourself. The DBS provide this service for those who live in England and Wales. The check costs £25. Most checks will be processed in 14 days. More details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/request-copy-criminal-record If you live in Scotland, you can request a basic disclosure from Disclosure Scotland. More details can be found here: https://www.mygov.scot/basic-disclosure/apply-forbasic-disclosure/ If you live elsewhere, please contact supervision@barstandardsboard.org.uk

36. What is a "relevant offence" for the purposes of the Regulations?

See Schedule 3 of the Regulations: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/made You should only answer "yes" if you have any UNSPENT convictions on the list on the above link

For further guidance on anti-money laundering regulations, please visit /regulatory-requirements/anti-money-laundering-and-counter-terrorist-financing/declaration-at-authorisation-to-practise-and-obtaining-a-criminal-records-check/

For FAQ's about entities, please click on this link /regulatory-requirements/entities,-including-alternative-business-structures/faqs-and-glossary-of-terms/.