Advising Barristers and Judges

We provide a specialised service to barristers and judges accused of professional misconduct, in particular those faced with BSB and JCIO investigations.
 

The number of complaints of alleged wrongdoing to the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) has increased significantly in recent years, particularly in respect of personal conduct, sexual harassment and the inappropriate use of social media.

The professional and reputational consequences of a regulatory investigation can be devastating for the individuals concerned as well as their families, at worst resulting in significant long term harm to careers and reputations. In many cases, with the right support, disciplinary action can be avoided altogether.

For many years we have advised and represented barristers and judges facing investigations instigated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO), providing constructive, critical advice from the very start of the process.

Our specialist team, led by Julie Norris, is consistently ranked in the top band (Band 1) in both Chambers & Partners UK and Legal 500, and has a proven track record of achieving the best possible outcome for our clients.

For Barristers

Over the last couple of years, the number of reports about barristers received by the BSB has risen significantly to approximately 1,900 compared to around 475 in previous years. While cases before the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service (BTAS) are a small proportion of those the BSB investigates, the investigations process can be highly sensitive, time-consuming and stressful. The rules and regulations in the BSB Handbook that govern barristers and BSB authorised entities are complex and require swift, careful and practical advice.

Our team has advised on the drafting of the BSB Disciplinary Tribunal Regulations as well as the current edition of the BSB’s Code of Conduct and Handbook; we are extremely well-placed to advise both individuals and firms on the full range of issues which may arise in practice, including:

  • BSB scope of practice and authorisation
  • Disciplinary proceedings before the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service (BTAS)
  • Challenges to Bar training provider outcomes
  • Proceedings before the Inns Conduct Committee
  • Chambers governance, including dealing with complaints and reports to the BSB

 

For Judges

Facing an allegation of judicial misconduct (whether as a salaried or part time judge) can be extremely stressful and have serious potential consequences. We have a sound understanding of the investigatory and advisory function of the JCIO and how best to navigate it. At every step along the way we will look to secure the best possible outcome that will protect both your office and professional standing.

We advise judges:

  • In local investigations, at Circuit level
  • In seeking to get matters dismissed, pre-decision to refer the case to the Nominated Judge
  • At the stage where the matter is considered by the Nominated Judge

 

Recent work

  • Advising a dual-qualified solicitor and barrister in relation to a self-report to the BSB following a drink-driving conviction.
  • Acting for a senior barrister in respect of allegations of misconduct and inappropriate conduct in chambers in proceedings brought by the BSB.
  • Successfully acting for a practising barrister and Recorder in respect of a complaint made to the JCIO concerning alleged judicial misconduct.
  • Successfully arguing the application of extenuating circumstances in respect of a Bar Professional Training Course (BTPC) examination.

 

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