Regulating the profession of England and Wales

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is responsible for maintaining the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales, which provides the rules that all barristers must abide by.

The general purpose of the Code is to provide the requirements for practice as a barrister and the rules and standards of conduct applicable to barristers that are appropriate in the interests of justice.

The BSB also issues guidance on the rules governing qualification and practice and conduct by barristers. 

Guidance usually relates to the application of particular provisions of the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales.  

The BSB Handbook

The Revised Code now forms Part Two of the new BSB 'Handbook', which brings together all the BSB's regulations and guidance for barristers into one publication.

The new Handbook's approach is less prescriptive, with more focus and guidance on what the outcome of a rule should be, rather than attempting to define how a barrister should act in every situation.

For training, support and information about the new Handbook, or to download an electronic version, visit here.

Continuing Professional Development

The Bar Standards Board is committed to ensuring that the profession continues to offer legal services of the very highest quality, therefore all practising barristers are required to complete continuing professional development (CPD). Whilst attending courses alone will not guarantee that appropriate standards are maintained, the Bar Standards Board considers that mandatory compliance with a planned programme of CPD is essential if barristers are to maintain and improve their skills.

Complaints and hearings

The BSB’s complaints and disciplinary system exists to establish systems to identify areas of risk to consumers, take action to remedy poor performance by barristers (or members of the profession) and, where things go wrong, to provide an efficient and fair complaints and disciplinary system.

The Barristers' Complaints Advisory Service (BCAS) comprises members of the Bar who have indicated their willingness to assist barristers against whom complaint has been made to the Complaints Commissioner.