BSB gauges options to police Bar in brave new world
The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is drawing up plans to regulate barristers in light of the next round of reforms under the Legal Services Act.The BSB is considering how to regulate the Bar in preparation for Legal Disciplinary Practices (LDPs), set to come into force from March 2009 allowing barristers to become managers alongside solicitors.The first option would see the body act as an 'entity regulator', allowing the BSB to police LDPs as bodies, rather than its traditional role of overseeing individual barristers.Another option would see the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulate LDPs as an entity but with the BSB overseeing barristers individually within the organisation.A further option could see the Bar distance itself from the main thrust of the LSA by blocking a barrister from joining an LDP unless they re-qualify as a solicitor.If the BSB chooses either of the first two options, its code of conduct would have to be altered as it does not allow barristers to work in a partnership.A decision is likely to be made before 2009 as BSB director Mandie Lavin said the regulator would have an appropriate framework in place in time for barristers wanting to become a manager in an LDP.The SRA has confirmed plans to have its accreditation scheme in place to rubber-stamp LDPs as soon as regulations allow in March 2009.Bar Council chair Timothy Dutton QC said: "The real question is whether barristers should be in partnership with solicitors while being regulated as barristers."
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