19 April 2019

Blog: Monthly message from our Chair, Baroness Blackstone

In this month's Regulatory Update, you can read more about the draft transparency rules which my Board and I agreed at our meeting last month. The new rules aim to improve the information available to the public before they engage the services of a barrister. They relate to the areas of law in which barristers practise, the legal services provided by barristers, what those services cost, and a client's right to redress. Subject to Legal Services Board approval, the new rules will come into force in May 2019, with compliance spot-checking by us starting from 2020.

Earlier this month, we published our annual report on diversity at the Bar. It showed that diversity improved steadily during 2018 but that further progress is still needed. You can read more about this on our website.

January marked the start of a new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) cycle. If you have not done so already, you may wish to start planning your learning objectives and CPD activity for the coming year. Information on CPD is available on our website. CPD is the primary way in which we are able to assure the public of the competence of barristers.

We are currently seeking new barrister members for our Advisory Panel of Experts and, later this month, our next recruitment round for barrister Board members will begin. If you think you might be able to help us, do please apply. More details on the Board member recruitment next month.

Lastly, we and the Bar Council would like to remind you that the 2019 Authorisation to Practise (AtP) period will begin later this month.

AtP is the annual process by which you must renew your practising certificate by paying your Practising Certificate Fee (PCF) and making a number of obligatory regulatory declarations to us about your practice. It is also when we ask you to provide the data which we use to monitor the diversity of the profession. Although this aspect of AtP is optional, I would encourage you to answer these questions as having accurate data across the whole profession is very important. It informs our annual diversity reporting mentioned above and our whole regulatory approach to promoting equality and diversity at the Bar.    

The Records team will contact you directly when AtP is open. Please check that the email address which you have registered on MyBar is accurate and up-to-date. More information about this year's AtP will be available on our website.