The Bar Council’s Annual Bar and Young Bar Conference begins in less than two weeks. Sign up to learn, debate, and network. Listen to over 40 expert speakers, develop your professional learning, and network with colleagues from across the profession. The keynote speaker has just been announced as former prisoner and successful broadcaster, Raphael Rowe, who will be speaking about his extraordinary life experiences as part of the Saturday afternoon programme. As well as the main conference day on Saturday 26 November, there will be three days of online sessions, with some in-person sessions at the Bar Council.

 

Discounts on ticket prices are available for chambers professionals, pupils and those in income bands 1 and 2, with further discounts for BRF subscribers and those booking 5 tickets or more.

 

View the programme and book your ticket today.

Kathryn Stone OBE Blog

In October our focus has been primarily on improving our performance, particularly in meeting our targets for the speed of dealing with investigations into possible professional misconduct. Despite recruitment and retention challenges, an increase in the number of cases referred for investigation, and a backlog of reports – partially due to the cyberattack we suffered earlier this year – we have been able to increase our productivity. The Board has established a special subcommittee to work with our Executive to monitor and improve performance and we have also decided to outsource some of our work in order to boost productivity further in the short term.  We will recruit and retain the necessary people in-house to meet our targets as soon as possible.

We have also now held the first two of our roundtables, in London and Manchester, looking at how we can work with chambers and employers to promote best practice in maintaining standards, improving access and promoting equality. We have already heard some very interesting ideas about how we can best work with the Bar Council, the Inns and Circuits to promote best practice and I look forward to meeting more of the Bar at the upcoming events planned in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, and Newcastle.

In late October, the Director General and I attended the two-day International Conference for Legal Regulators in Chicago, where we took part in part in a session on the ethical framework for lawyers and had interesting discussions about the opportunities (and risks) presented by technology in facilitating good value legal services and the role of regulators in promoting well-being. I took this opportunity to underline the important role which the Cab Rank rule plays in protecting access to justice and the independence of the Bar.

Following a review of its Scheme Rules earlier this year, the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) has now notified us of its new Rules, which will apply from April 2023. I would encourage you to consult the full set of updated rules, which will be published on the LeO site in due course and would also like to draw your attention to one change in  particular : From 1 April 2023, the time limit for referring a complaint to the LeO will be reduced to one year, counted either from the date of the act or omission being complained about or from the date when the complainant should have realised that there was cause for complaint.

On 20 October, we held a webinar to discuss our Digital Comparison Tool (DCT) pilot, which you can watch here. A panel of speakers, including BSB and DCT representatives, explained more about the pilot and answered questions from the audience. The pilot itself is expected to run for at least 12 months and you can learn more about it on our dedicated webpage.  We are particularly focusing on employment law for this pilot, but anyone is welcome to join. If you do practise in employment law, I should very much encourage you to take part.  We want, through this pilot, to evaluate whether on-line comparison has a useful role to play in linking consumers to barristers.

Last month we also published our annual report setting out the action that the BSB has taken to counter money laundering and terrorist financing. The report provides an opportunity for us to share the work we are doing to prevent the Bar becoming involved in money laundering and to explain what everyone can do to support that work. It also sets out the action being taken in response to reports of possible breaches of the Regulations.

Finally, to mark Black History Month, our Head of Equality and Access to Justice Aminat Suleman interviewed our new Lay Board Member Gisela Abbam FRSA MBA and Barrister Board Member Professor Leslie Thomas KC. You can watch Gisela’s interview on our website and Leslie’s on our website.

 

Also in this month’s online Regulatory Update: