The Bar Standards Board (BSB) of England and Wales has responded to the Legal Services Board statement on ongoing competence. The response comes with an action plan for ensuring the competence of barristers.
Currently the BSB employs a number of measures to ensure competence including:
- The Professional Statement, which describes the knowledge, skills and aptitude that barristers should have as they enter the profession.
- Targeted regulation where there is evidence of concerns in standards of practice – our work on Youth Courts and Coroners Courts are examples of these.
- The BSB Handbook, which defines the core duties and rules relating to practice at the Bar.
The action plan sets out 5 points to strengthen these measures:
- The ongoing review of the approach to Continuing Professional Development and in particular the use of feedback and reflective practice to support learning and development.
- Looking at the role of Chambers and employers in supporting high standards of practice.
- Improving intelligence and data analysis capability to ensure that regulatory interventions are targeted and based on a broad range of evidence.
- A review of the regulation of the early years of practice at the Bar to build on the expectations outlined in the Professional Statement.
- Enhancing intelligence gathering and analysis and strengthening our intelligence sharing arrangements with other regulators and organisations such as the Legal Ombudsman.