Bar Standards Board to register youth court lawyers

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Oct 30, 2017
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The watchdog wants to promote the special skills needed to work with vulnerable youths

Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

Barristers appearing in the youth courts will be required to register that specialism with the profession’s regulator as part of a bid to boost standards of advocacy for vulnerable children.

The Bar Standards Board announced on Friday that it had revised its practice rules so that barristers doing youth court work must sign a register. Officials said the move would allow the regulator “to identify barristers who are working in the Youth Court and to promote standards in those proceedings”.

In addition, the board said that barristers will in the future be required to provide information on their practice areas, including any public access work, and the percentage of income they derive from each area.

The move may be seen by some lawyers as unnecessary prying, but the regulator claimed that it was designed to ensure that barrister are complying with updated anti-money laundering regulations. The board also argued that the move was needed to “improve the BSB’s understanding of the work of barristers, thereby helping them to target regulation more effectively”. Barristers will also be required to to provide a unique email address to the regulator.

Ewen MacLeod, a director at the board, said: “We are particularly keen to highlight the important role of those practising in our youth courts and the skills necessary for this kind of work.”

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