24 August 2019

Blog: Monthly message from our Chair Baroness Blackstone

Subject to final Legal Services Board approval, we hope to be able to introduce our new transparency rules for the Bar soon. The new transparency standards are designed to improve the information available to the public before they engage the services of a barrister. They relate to information about 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.

All barristers will be required to make sure that their practice complies with the new rules once they are made live, but there will be an implementation period until January 2020 with compliance spot-checking by us not starting until then. Even then, our emphasis will be on helping you to comply rather than considering disciplinary sanctions. We will announce when the new rules are made live and hope to provide more details about your obligations in next month's Regulatory Update email.

This month, we have announced that we are writing to interested parties about whether it should be made mandatory for chambers and other Authorised Education and Training Organisations (AETOs) providing the pupillage / work-based learning component of Bar training to bring their recruitment timetable into line with the Bar Council's Pupillage Gateway. This runs between November and May, but we believe that obliging all those offering pupillage to recruit to the same timetable would make recruitment fairer for all candidates and, indeed, for all those offering pupillage too.

At the same time, we are also asking for views on whether written agreements between pupils and AETOs should be compulsory, so that both parties have a clearer record of what is expected of them.

If you would like to find out more about either of these proposals, you can read more on our website.

When we introduced the new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme for barristers of more than three years' standing in 2017, we committed ourselves to carrying out a period of further research to assess the impact of the new scheme.

To help us do this, we have commissioned an independent research company, to explore barristers' views and experiences of the new CPD scheme. The research involves an online survey, focus groups and in-depth interviews with barristers. You may well receive an email from us about this issue but if you do not, and are interested in taking part, there is more information on our website. Any information you provide to the researchers will be treated in confidence, reported anonymously and will only be used for the purposes of this research.