21 September 2019

Blog: Monthly message from our Chair Sir Andrew Burns KCMG

As is featured extensively in this edition of Regulatory Update, we have been preparing for the implementation of the new CPD scheme for established barristers which comes into force next month. Much of our preparatory work has focused on helping you to prepare. Our recent CPD roadshows and associated webinar have been very well attended. We have had lively appreciative discussions and I have enjoyed speaking with so many of you directly.

Our central message to you is that it is for you to decide what professional development you need. We want to be supportive, rather than prescriptive or punitive. I expect we shall all learn how to do this better as we work through the new CPD arrangements. We shall continue to offer advice and we shall welcome feedback.

Another key topic is our Future Bar Training programme. Our consultation about possible routes to authorisation as a barrister was launched in October. We have now added an Addendum fleshing out the COIC and Bar Council proposal for a different two-stage BPTC model first presented at our public seminar last July. We have extended our deadline for comments to the end of January and look forward to your thoughts.

Earlier in the year, we published our new Strategic Plan to cover the three years from 2016 to 2019. At the same time, we also published our first ever Risk Outlook. Within the strategic plan, we identified three priority areas for our focus. These are:

  • The opportunity for those we regulate to improve how they meet consumer needs;
  • Improving diversity and enhancing equality in practice and culture at the Bar; and
  • Responding to commercial pressures on legal services providers.

With regard to the second of these priorities, in June we took part in an important event about "Race Equality in the Legal Profession" at The Law Society. You will recall that in July we also published the results of our major survey about women's experiences at the Bar. Work continues on these issues.

Our remit is set to be extended following approval earlier in the year of our applications to the Legal Services Board to become an Alternative Business Structure (ABSs) regulator. At the time of writing, we are waiting for parliamentary approval before announcing the formal launch of ABS regulation by the BSB.

If 2016 has been busy, then 2017 is set to be even busier!

Let me wish you all a very happy and successful New Year.