BSB consults on changing the standard of proof used in professional misconduct proceedings for barristers

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today launched a new consultation about the standard of proof applied when barristers and others regulated by the BSB face disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct.

The current standard of proof used is the criminal standard which is “beyond a reasonable doubt” or “satisfied so as to be sure”. The BSB is seeking views as to whether its regulatory arrangements should be changed to allow the civil standard to be applied. The civil standard is “on the balance of probabilities” or “more likely than not”.

Switching to the civil standard would bring the Bar’s disciplinary arrangements in line with most other professions.

The BSB is seeking views about making this change from everyone with an interest in the regulation of the Bar including consumers of legal services, barristers, and bodies and individuals involved in other regulatory disciplinary systems.

BSB Director of Professional Conduct, Sara Jagger said: “We have robust procedures in place to make sure that the way in which we deal with complaints against barristers is both thorough and fair. This means that the public can have confidence that any barristers breaching the standards expected of them will be held to account, and barristers can be assured that any complaints about their conduct will be dealt with fairly. We want to know whether or not people think that changing the standard of proof used in disciplinary proceedings from the criminal to the civil standard would be consistent with these principles. We urge anyone with a view on the matter to respond to our consultation accordingly.”

The full consultation paper can be found here.

The consultation closes on Friday 21 July.

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