Call to bar will not be deferred until pupillage complete, says BSB

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has rejected proposals to defer call to the bar until after a barrister has completed pupillage.

The move comes following a 12-month consultation, which was undertaken to address fears that the public might be misled about the status of practitioners.

Currently lawyers can describe themselves as a barrister once they are called after completing the bar vocational course (BVC).

The BSB, however, proposed that an online register of all barristers holding a current practising certificate should be launched and that barristers undergoing pupillage must be described as pupil barristers until pupillage is completed.

The BSB made these conclusions after deciding that deferral would be a disproportionate response to the risk posed.

The board decided that the bar’s code of conduct and criminal law are sufficient to protect the public from harm. It felt that deferring call could, in fact, reduce transparency.

Ruth Evans, chair of the BSB, said: “The measures we propose will strengthen current arrangements to ensure that the public has access to clear information about the status of their barrister without detriment to the legitimate interests of the profession at home and abroad.”