21 September 2019

BSB agrees new Bar training rules

At our last Board meeting, we agreed a revised set of rules to govern the process by which prospective barristers will train and qualify in England and Wales. Subject to Legal Services Board (LSB) approval, the new rules will come into force in early 2019.

The rules are designed to ensure that training to become a barrister is more accessible, affordable and flexible and that it maintains the high standards of entry expected at the Bar. We have consulted extensively on various aspects of the rules over the past few years as part of our comprehensive Future Bar Training (FBT) programme. Our most recent consultation ran between July and September 2018 and sought views on the drafting of the new training rules. We considered the responses we received to this consultation at our meeting, before agreeing a final set of rules to submit to the LSB for approval.

Information for students about the rule changes is available on our website. This includes details of the transitional arrangements that will be put in place to ensure that neither current students who are already part way through their route to qualification as a barrister, nor those who have already qualified are in any way disadvantaged.

In agreeing the new Bar training rules, we clarified one final FBT policy decision. This follows discussion with the Council of the Inns of Court about the current rule under which the Inns are required to accredit all barristers becoming pupil supervisors. The new rules require us to authorise all organisations providing pupillage. The authorisation process will require all such organisations - known as Authorised Education and Training Organisations (AETOs) - to provide assurance to us as to the suitability and competence of pupil supervisors, which will include compulsory training for pupil supervisors. As we have previously decided that pupil supervisor training need not be provided exclusively by the Inns, it was considered unnecessary to mandate accreditation of pupil supervisors by the Inns. However, we hope that the Inns will continue to provide pupil supervisor training and  additional quality assurance to Chambers in order to assist them to meet their duties to us as AETOs.