21 September 2019

Blog: Monthly message from our Chair Sir Andrew Burns KCMG

My very best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy, successful and prosperous New Year.

I dare say however that 2016 will be another challenging year for many of you and I want to assure you that, as your regulator, we at the Bar Standards Board are well aware of the reasons why practising at the Bar is such a testing profession.

One of our statutory regulatory objectives is "to encourage an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession." Whilst our prime concern is the protection of the public interest, it is clear to me that this can only be achieved with a strong and nimble Bar that has the skills and agility to adapt quickly to an ever-changing market for its services.

You will see elsewhere in this issue of our Regulatory Update that we will be  publishing a draft of our forthcoming new strategic plan next week. This will outline what we see as our strategic priorities for the next three years. One of our intended priorities relates directly to helping the profession to respond to changing technological, consumer and regulatory demands. It was ever thus. As Heraclitus said, "There is nothing permanent except change."

We should very much like to know what you think about our draft strategy. We are due to publish the final version in April this year, so if you have any reactions or feedback about the draft that you would like to share with us - particularly about our strategic priorities - please do get in touch. You will be able to see the draft plan on our website from next week as well as details on how to respond to the consultation. Our Director General Vanessa Davies and I will be holding an open meeting in London in the early evening of Tuesday 26 January. It would be good to see you there and hear your thoughts.

Speaking of change, I am very pleased to announce that Naomi Ellenbogen QC has taken over the Vice-Chairmanship of the BSB, in succession to Patricia Robertson QC who has made such an influential contribution to our work in recent years. The Vice Chair has a critically important role to play in ensuring that the Board fully grasps the implications for the Bar of changing demands, proposed changes and new initiatives. Naomi's experience and insight into the realities of practising at the Bar will be enormously valuable to the Board as we continue to address issues of professional regulation which will have a profound effect on the future of the Bar in England and Wales.