Bar Standards Board (BSB) vs Bar Council – who does what? 

The IBC have recently been invited to engage with the BSB, in terms of what we can do to support their strategy. This focuses on the standards of our members (and therefore, to a point, our sets) with the fundamental goal being to protect the consumers of our collective services. An enormous part of that, we believe, is improving on communication and engagement between the two organisations, which a small focus group of the Management Committee are leading.

In our recent meeting, we asked the BSB to provide us with an article we could send on to our membership; the purpose of this being to firstly demystify the fundamental difference between the Bar Council and the BSB (as they are often confused by barristers and chambers alike). The second purpose is to try and encourage engagement between our members and the BSB. As you’ll see below, they often undertake consultations, where our views are sought, and are insights are imperative, and we want to encourage greater engagement with that in the future. As we are made aware of consultations, we will reach out to our membership to garner better engagement. In the meantime, Please do sign up to the regulatory update using the link below, and stay tuned for further updates.

We will also be taking the opportunity to undertake some short in person presentations to the BSB to provide them with a better understanding of our roles.

Bar Standards Board (BSB) vs Bar Council – who does what? Roles explained.

By Christopher Fitzsimons (BSB Communications and Public Engagement Manager)

June/ July 2024

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) regulates over 17,000 barristers in England and Wales. Our main objective is doing so is to protect the public interest, ensuring that only professionally competent and ethically responsible people are able to practise as barristers.  We want consumers to be confident that we will take appropriate regulatory action against barristers who breach the professional and ethical duties set out in our Code of Conduct. You can read more about what we do on our website.

The Bar Council is a separate entity from the BSB, and is responsible for representing the Bar. The primary difference between the BSB and the Bar Council therefore is that the BSB has the public interest as its focus, while the Bar Council has the interests of the Bar as its focus. While our objectives may sometimes overlap, there is clearly a fundamental difference between the work of regulating and representing the Bar. Nonetheless, we do work closely with the Bar Council, as well as with the Circuits, Inns of Court, and Specialist Bar Associations.

IBC members – we need you; your voice matters!

The BSB regularly seeks views from its stakeholders through public consultations.  Although we regulate barristers and not chambers we are very conscious that many of our rules – such as the Equality Rules for example – have implications for the management of chambers.  We are about to launch a consultation about revising the Equality Rules and we are also currently seeking to codify and consolidate the other rules that apply to barristers in chambers so we are particularly keen to hear from IBC members.  More widely we will also want to seek your input when we launch a consultation in the autumn about our new five-year strategy. These consultations are published on our website and on our social media channels as well as in the monthly Regulatory Update. We would encourage IBC members to sign up to receive the Regulatory Update, which all practising barristers receive each month, to ensure that they are aware of relevant events, deadlines and announcements. For more information, or questions about our work, upcoming consultations and events         please contact