BSB opts against deferral of call to the bar

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has rejected plans for deferring call to the bar until after pupillage is completed.

The initial suggestion to defer call came after concerns were raised that consumers might be misled as to who is a fully qualified barrister.

However, a provisional report on deferral of call by the BSB published today (8 June) dismisses this argument and instead proposes that an online register of barristers holding a practising certificate should be created.

The year-long consultation also suggested that pupils be referred to as trainee barristers.

Ruth Evans, chair of the BSB, said the board found “very little evidence that the existing protections in the Bar’s Code of Conduct are not sufficient to protect the public from harm”.

She added: “The board also takes the view that deferring call could cause significant harm by making the process of awarding the degree of ‘barrister’ less fair and transparent, and by deterring non-UK students from qualifying as English barristers, with the cultural, academic and economic benefits that this brings.”

The board issued its original consultation paper in July 2006 and commissioned research from Ipsos-MORI to gather views from law students and the general public.

Interested parties now have until the end of June to respond to the BSB’s provisional view, with the board intending to take a final decision on the matter in July.

Should call to the Bar be deferred untill after pupillage?
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