24 August 2019

Updated policy on the publication of disciplinary findings against barristers

Last month, our Board decided to update our policy on the publication of disciplinary findings for professional misconduct. The policy will in future extend to all avenues by which we put disciplinary findings into the public domain, and the lengths of time for which such findings are made publicly available have also been revised.  

The current Publications Policy has been in place for many years and covers the publication of all findings of professional misconduct, and the associated sanctions imposed by Disciplinary Tribunals or via the  Determination by Consent procedure. The Bar Tribunals and Adjudications Service (BTAS) also publishes Disciplinary Tribunal findings on its website.

However, our current policy is limited to publication on our website whereas the updated policy covers publication by all means including on the Bar Register and on request.    

This update will help to ensure that we continue to meet the requirements of data protection legislation and seeks to strike the right balance between public protection and the impact on the profession of publication. 

Having carefully considered the views of key stakeholders at a roundtable meeting in June, we have now agreed to update this policy. The new publication policy is due to come into effect on 15 September 2019.

The revised lengths of time for which disciplinary findings will be put in the public domain by us will be as follows:

  • For findings that do not result in a sentence involving a period of suspension or disbarment - information about them will be available for 2 years (this is the same as the current Publication Policy);
  • For findings that result in a sentence involving a period of suspension from practising as a barrister for 12 months or fewer the period will be 5 years in addition to the duration of the suspension period (the current Publication Policy specifies a publication length of 10 years);
  • For findings that result in a sentence involving a period of suspension from practising as a barrister of more than 12 months the period will be 10 years in addition to the duration of the suspension period (the current Publication Policy prescribes indefinite publication);
  • For findings that result in a sentence involving disbarment the period will be 60 years (the current Publication Policy prescribes indefinite publication.)