BSB investigates complaints about 17 barristers at same chambers


inns of court

Barristers’ enthusiasm continues for BSB-regulated firms

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is investigating complaints about 17 barristers at the same chambers, it has emerged.

The complaints “from a single source” helped triple the number of internal complaints handled by the BSB in the six months from April to September last year, compared to the previous two quarters.

A report for last week’s BSB board meeting said that among the 75 internal complaints it opened from April to September 2014 were “linked complaints about 17 separate barristers originating from a single source”.

The report said the group of complaints led to high numbers of cases involving allegations of “failure to act appropriately towards pupils” and “discreditable/ dishonest conduct”.

Sarah Jagger, director of professional conduct, told the meeting that the complaints related to one incident and one chambers.

A BSB spokesman added the regulator did not comment on individual cases unless a disciplinary tribunal had been scheduled.

The interim enforcement report said internal complaints relating to failing to renew practising certificates rose sharply from April to September 2014, from three to 15, while those relating to practising without a practising certificate fell from 40 to only 12.

The overall number of active cases handled by the professional conduct department grew during the period from 335 to 386.

Meanwhile, the number of barristers expressing an interest in setting up niche advocacy firms regulated by the BSB has risen to 51. A spokesman said the interest had resulted in seven formal applications to become the first BSB-regulated firms.

According to board papers, the BSB “met recently with a chambers of 55-plus members that is proactively considering incorporating each of its practice areas as an entity”.

The BSB opened its doors to applications at the beginning of last month but, for technical reasons, will not be able to approve the first firms until April.

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