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Freedom to operate: Bar Standards Board wants to relax barrister rules for corporate vehicles and agencies

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is proposing to make it easier for barristers to work through agencies and corporate vehicles, and has launched a consultation on its reforms. 

The regulator wants to allow barristers to work in ‘different and more modern ways’, by amending its practice rules to let employed barristers in non-authorised bodies to supply legal services to clients of their employer.

At the moment, barristers must first seek a waiver from the BSB, but the regulator said that is not a viable long term solution.

‘The BSB has already agreed that its policy position is to allow barristers to work through agencies or corporate vehicles, but the current rules do not reflect this.’

BSB director of regulatory policy Ewen MacLeod said: ‘We are seeking to modernise our arrangements for employed barristers working outside of authorised law firms, to reflect better how employers seek to procure these services.

‘In doing so, we want to ensure that there are no unintended consequences of amending the rules.’

The consultation closes on 15 December. 

Read the consultation paper here