Bar Standards Board of England and Wales issues consultation to improve consumer protection

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is set to expand its powers to protect the public by introducing rule changes following a consultation. The proposed changes involve giving the Disciplinary Tribunal the authority to impose interim restrictions on a barrister’s practising certificate or withdraw practising rights on an interim basis when a finding of misconduct has been made, and the decision on sanction has been deferred. The second change extends the BSB’s powers to refer a person to an interim suspension panel by introducing a new ground for referral, deeming it “necessary to protect the public or is otherwise in the public interest.” The BSB anticipates these rule changes to take effect in the New Year, pending approval by the Legal Services Board.

The rule changes aim to enhance the BSB’s ability to safeguard the public by allowing interim measures in cases where a finding of misconduct has been established, providing a more proactive approach to protect public interest pending the final decision on sanctions. The decision follows a consultation, with all four respondents supporting the BSB’s rationale and proposed changes, leading to the adoption of their suggested amendments in the new rules.

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