In recent weeks, the Legal Services Board (LSB) has granted permission for the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to push ahead with important reforms which could have far-reaching implications for Barristers.
Back in November 2018, the BSB said that it would move to lower the standard of proof required in cases where Barristers are facing disciplinary proceedings.
The controversial move, which attracted strong opposition at the time, will see the standard of proof ‘downgraded’ from the criminal standard to the civil standard.
In short, this means that it will be much easier for Barristers to be sanctioned when facing disciplinary action. This is because the current system requires cases brought before the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service rest upon whether ‘wrongdoing’ can be proved ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, whereas, under the new rules, such cases will be determined simply on the balance of probabilities.
Following the LSB’s permission, which was granted midway through October, It has now been agreed that the new rules will take effect in March 2019.
However, only cases that come to the Tribunal after the agreed implementation date will be tried under the new rules.
This means that, for a short time, there will be a ‘crossover period’ under which both standards will be applied.
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