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The Bar Standards Board issues a consultation on proposed amendments to widen its powers to protect the public

Breaking NewsThe Bar Standards Board issues a consultation on proposed amendments to widen its powers to protect the public

The BSB has today issued a consultation document seeking views on proposed changes which would widen the powers of the BSB and of Disciplinary Tribunals in order to:

 give Disciplinary Tribunals the power to impose interim restrictions on a barrister’s practising certificate, or the withdrawal of practising rights on an interim basis, where a finding of misconduct has been made but the decision on sanction has been deferred to a later date; and

  1. extend the BSB’s power to refer a person to an interim suspension panel, by replacing “to protect the interests of clients (or former or potential clients)” with “for the protection of the public or in the public interest” as a criterion for such a referral.

The BSB believes that there may be strong public interest reasons in certain cases to take interim action to stop a barrister from continuing to practise where there is a potential threat to the wider public but not necessarily to a barrister’s clients. The full consultation document is available here. To respond to this consultation, please email [email protected] by 5pm on 2 August 2023.

This consultation period is shorter than it would normally be as we have identified this matter as a priority that needs to be rectified in the public interest as soon as possible, whilst also being a relatively straightforward amendment to our rules. We plan to proactively engage with key stakeholders to gauge their views and are also willing to offer meetings to anyone who would like to feed into the consultation, rather than to formally respond in writing. Please email [email protected] for more information.

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