24 August 2019

Blog: Monthly message from our Chair Baroness Blackstone

On 1 July, we published new transparency rules in a revised edition of the BSB Handbook. The new rules came into force on that date and are designed to improve the information available to the public before they engage the services of a barrister.

If you are a self-employed barrister, the rules require you (or your chambers or BSB-regulated entity) to publish specified information about your services, including which types of legal service you provide, your most commonly used pricing models (such as fixed fee or hourly rate) and details of your clients' rights of redress. If you are a Public Access barrister providing certain types of services, you are also required to publish additional price and service information.

You can read more about these new rules on our website, including a list of the types of Public Access services covered by the additional transparency rules. Their introduction follows recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority that legal regulators should introduce new requirements in this area. We consulted widely about the development of the rules for barristers during 2017 and 2018. You now have until January 2020 to be fully compliant with them, after which, we will start checking on compliance.  Our focus will initially be on ensuring compliance rather than pursuing disciplinary sanctions.

We have also published guidance to help you comply with them.

Also this month, we published the fifth annual edition of our statistical information on student performance on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). It includes information about students who enrolled in the 2017-18 academic year, as well as those who enrolled in the preceding two academic years. As has previously been the case, this year's report shows that training for the Bar remains highly competitive. You can read more about this in the online version of Regulatory Update.