15 September 2019

About risk-based regulation

You have probably noticed how we often refer to our method of regulating the Bar as being "risk-based". This is something that is very much at the heart of our new Strategic Plan. We thought it might be helpful to provide an explanation here about what we mean by risk-based regulation.

In short, risk-based regulation means that we are constantly monitoring the market for barristers' and advocacy services. We identify all of the potential risks that could prevent our Regulatory Objectives from being met. When we have done this, we focus our attention as the regulator on the risks that we think pose the biggest threats to the public interest. We then take action to try and prevent those risks from occurring, or to reduce their impact.

Inevitably, focusing on risks might make us seem very negative or give the impression that we anticipate the worst case scenario will happen. This is not true. We know that much of what the Bar does works very well. But we do not generally need to focus our regulatory attention on the things that are going well!

To a large extent, trying to anticipate what could go wrong - and taking action to prevent that happening - is what being a regulator is about. You can read more about our risk-based approach to regulation and find out about the risk areas that we are going to be focusing most of our attention on during the early years of our strategy, on our website. The information on our website also explains our statutory obligations to regulate in a risk-based way.