15 September 2019

Understanding the new Handbook

The third edition of the BSB Handbook was published on 3 April 2017. The new edition contains a number of changes to our regulatory arrangements and can be downloaded from our website in pdf.

The biggest change to the Handbook relates to the licensing and regulation of Alternative Business Structures (ABSs). We are now authorised to license ABSs. These are bodies that are owned and managed jointly by authorised and non-authorised individuals - that is, by lawyers and non-lawyers.

In the new edition of the Handbook, ABSs are referred to as "BSB licensed bodies". The system for regulating ABSs draws on our existing system for regulating entities, with a few specific measures, such as provisions aiming to capture the conduct of employees and managers of licensed bodies, to take account of the particular nature of ABSs. More information on the licensing and regulation of ABSs can be found online. Please note that the final approved text may differ from the draft "strikethrough" text that appeared in the early version of the Handbook. We have also made some changes to the terminology and definitions used, to clarify different types of entity and align the definition of "BSB-regulated person" with the definition of a regulated person in the Legal Services Act. This affects, for example, how unregistered barristers are referred to in the Handbook, but does not change the rules that apply to them.

Other changes made for this edition of the Handbook include clarifications of:

  • the duty not to mislead the court (rC6),
  • rules on conflicts of interest to ensure that barristers are aware that this rule applies where there is areal riskof a conflict of interest as well as when there is an actual conflict of interest (rC21.2-.3), and
  • the jurisdiction of the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) when considering complaints against individuals acting in a quasi-judicial capacity (rE23-25).

Details of all changes are published on our website.

The Handbook is also available as an app for smart phones and tablets, which can be accessed offline on mobile devices once it has been downloaded.

To ensure that you are accessing the most up to date version of the app, clear your cache, cookies and internet browsing history regularly.