23 September 2019

Blog: Monthly message from our Chair, Baroness Blackstone

Once again, it is the time of year to renew your practising certificate.

Our new joint portal with the Bar Council, MyBar, opened last month. MyBar has replaced Barrister Connect as the place for you to complete the Authorisation to Practise process and to pay your Practising Certificate Fee. Do not forget that you will not be authorised to continue practising unless you complete this process by31 March.

As I wrote last month, you will need to complete four new reporting requirements when renewing your practising certificate. In addition to the existing reporting requirements, you will now be asked to:

  • provide information on your practice areas, including any public access work;
  • declare work that falls within the scope of the new Anti-Money Laundering Regulations;
  • register, if you work in the Youth Courts, or intend to do so; and
  • register your MyBar account with a unique email address to help us to communicate with you more securely and effectively.

I hope you will find the new process straightforward and easy to complete.

At its February meeting, the Board set out a revised approach to improve transparency standards for clients of the Bar. This responds to the recent Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) market study of legal services and takes full account of the responses we received to our recent consultation.

The more targeted approach that we will now adopt reflects the feedback that we got from many of you during the consultation and at the events we held around the Circuits in the autumn. We are very grateful to everyone who responded and shared their views on this important topic with us.

You can read more about our new approach in this edition of Regulatory Update. I think that the more focused approach strikes the right balance between benefiting consumers and the wider public, and what is a feasible and proportionate approach for the profession to implement.

Finally, can I please encourage you all to give us your view about our proposed reforms to regulatory decision-making? We want to maintain our high standards but to modernise the system to increase its efficiency and bring it into line with modern regulatory practice. But we really do want to hear your views about our proposals!