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The new Handbook

The new Handbook

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The new Handbook

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  1. The new Handbook

  2. Overview • New structure and approach • Key changes in new Code of Conduct • Enforcement changes • Supervision • Entity regulation • Implementation

  3. BSB Handbook • Introduction (I) • Code of conduct (C) • Core duties • Conduct rules • Rules applying to specific groups • Scope of practice, authorisation and licensing (S) • Qualifications (Q) (yet to be reviewed) • Enforcement (E) • Definitions(D)

  4. The Code of Conduct • 10 core duties (CD) • Core elements of professional conduct that apply to all barristers (and others) • Outcomes (o) • Descriptive, rationale for rules and aid understanding of rules and guidance; not mandatory but will be taken into account when considering breaches of the rules • Rules (r) • Supplementing core duties where specific rules necessary • Guidance (g) • Assists in the interpretation of rules, examples of expected behaviour etc (not mandatory)

  5. The Core Duties • You must observe your duty to the court in the administration of justice [CD1] • You must act in the best interests of each client [CD2] • You must act with honesty and integrity [CD3] • You must maintain your independence [CD4] • You must not behave in a way which is likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in you or in the profession [CD5] • You must keep the affairs of each client confidential [CD6] • You must provide a competent standard of work and service to each client [CD7] • You must not discriminate unlawfully against any person [CD8] • You must be open and co-operative with your regulators [CD9] • You must take reasonable steps to manage your practice, or carry out your role within your practice, competently and in such a way as to achieve compliance with your legal and regulatory obligations [CD10]

  6. The conduct rules • You and the court • Behaving ethically • You and your client • You and your regulator • You and your practice

  7. Some key changes • All core duties to apply to unregistered barristers when providing legal services • Trust and confidence and co-operation with regulators apply at all times • Also need to provide information to clients • Associations and premises sharing • generally relaxed; but novel business arrangements can’t circumvent the regulatory requirement / outcome and especially not confuse clients

  8. Reporting certain matters to the BSB: • includes serious misconduct by self and others • Exemption for barristers working on Ethical Helpline • Chambers admin: • Appoint someone to liaise with BSB • Members to take (reasonable) personal responsibility • No appointment of person disqualified by BSB • Requirement to have risk management arrangements in place • Foreign work and public access

  9. Further areas of clarification • Referral fees • Not misleading clients • Accepting and return of instructions • Non-discrimination and cab-rank rules • Ceasing to practice • Client money • Insurance

  10. Scope of practice and authorisation rules • Scope of practice of different categories of barrister • Rules for issuing practising certificates • Includes rules for authorisation to conduct litigation • Registration of European Lawyers Rules

  11. Litigation • Self-employed barristers will be able to apply for an extension to their practising certificate • Self-assessment questionnaire, including: • Knowledge, skills and experience of litigation; • Public access training; • Administrative systems and skills to manage litigation effectively • Appropriate insurance • Application fee • Appeals process

  12. Enforcement changes • Admin sanctions available for breaches where proportionate • Power to impose rests with PCC (can be delegated to staff) • Max fine increased to £1,000 for individuals • Cases not appropriate for NFA or admin sanctions referred to a disciplinary tribunal • New enforcement strategy

  13. Enforcement changes • Disqualification powers: • Where breach caused and in public interest to prevent them working for a BSB regulated person • Requirement to seek BSB approval before employment • Only DT (or interim panel) could impose • May apply to us to have it lifted • Interim suspension and disqualification panels: • PCC’s powers enhanced • Triggers for referral and powers available widened • Immediate interim suspension powers

  14. Supervision • New risk-based approach; • Chambers/entities initially – then other areas of activity; • Risk assessment framework; • Priority to higher risk sets of chambers or higher risk areas through thematic reviews; • Supervision v enforcement – a focus on early, constructive engagement rather than punishment; • Only persistent or very serious non-compliance referred for enforcement.

  15. Regulation of entities • BSB seeking approval to become a regulator of entities • Entity regulation rules (in draft) are included in the Handbook for information (see strikethrough text) • New Handbook proposes new duties for managers of entities and authorised persons who work in them (rules similar to those for self-employed barristers) • Specific HOLP and HOFA duties • Additional detailed authorisation rules • We expect these to be approved by the Legal Services Board in the New Year

  16. Implementation • Launch: 6 January 2014 • Podcast coming soon • Webinar on 12 November

  17. Handbook app • This is a prototype • Available on PCs, tablets and smartphones • Improved search function • There will also be a print version available to download •

  18. Handbook app • Features still in development • Filter your search according to practice type • Print button • Frequently asked questions • Email with your suggestions and improvements