Ethical Enquiries Service
In 2016-17, the Bar Council Ethical Enquiries Service responded to around 6,000 telephone enquiries and over 550 emails from barristers who needed help to identify, interpret and comply with their professional obligations in the Bar Standards Board (BSB) Handbook.
Provided by the Bar Council Policy Team with oversight from the Bar Council Ethics Committee, the service gives barristers access to guidance on a range of issues, including when to return instructions, how to manage conflicts of interest, and the ethical duties that arise from new ways of working, such as practising in a dual capacity or undertaking a secondment.
The Bar Council also publishes over 200 ethical guide documents on its website; these are regularly reviewed and updated by the Ethics Committee. New guidance in 2016-7 covered subjects including duties to the court in criminal appeals, acting as an expert witness in foreign jurisdictions, and advertising and website profiles.
In 2016-17, the Bar Council made improvements to the service by changing the way calls and emails are categorised in order to take account of new and more frequently arising issues. Among other improvements made to the service, the team now specifically measures the number of queries on reporting serious misconduct, misleading the court, and being a sole practitioner.
The Bar Council has also made changes to the way in which staff capacity is managed to ensure that callers are always able to get through to a member of the team, even during busy times.
In 2017, the Bar Council Communications Team produced a short film to promote the work of the Ethical Enquiries Service.
Contact and further information
The Bar Council
289-293 High Holborn