Bar Standards Board launches new consultation into FBT programme

At the beginning of October, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) opened a brand new consultation into a number of aspects of its ongoing Future Bar Training (FBT) programme.

The news marks one of many moves by the BSB in recent times to look into amending the rules governing Barrister training and qualification in the UK.

This time around, the regulator is hoping to explore the role of the Inns of Court in the training and qualification process and the future rules and regulatory arrangements surrounding the work-based component of training, otherwise known as ‘pupillage’.

In its latest consultation document, the BSB has said that it has “no intention of changing what works well,” but is interested in “deregulating” in certain areas where applicable.

As an example, the regulator has said that certain prescriptive rules around pupillage could be removed in order to provide greater flexibility to those parts of the Bar that may wish to provide innovative or unusual pupillage opportunities suited to the modern age.

The regulator has also acknowledged that the Inns of Court has long held an historic and supportive role in preparing trainees for “the realities of practice.”

Nevertheless, it is seeking views in relation to the extent in which the BSB should prescribe the role of the Inns in certain cases.

Commenting on the new consultation, Ewen MacLeod, Director of Strategy and Policy at the BSB, said: “By seeking views on these important matters, we are keen to make sure that our rules governing pupillage and qualification remain fit for purpose over the long-term.

“We want to build on what already works well in the current system, maintain the high-standards of entry for newly qualified Barristers, and to encourage innovation and flexibility for the Bar in the way that work-based training for barristers is delivered.

“At the same time, we want to ensure that a career as a Barrister is accessible for everyone with the potential.”

The full consultation document can be accessed here.

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