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Sanctions Guidance Review Consultation Timetable
On 29 January the Bar Tribunals Adjudication Service and the Bar Standards Board announced that the current Sanctions Guidance covering professional misconduct has been under review since last year and that proposals from the review will be published and subject to consultation. The review is being taken forward by the BTAS secretariat together with the Bar Standards Board with guidance from the BTAS Strategic Advisory Board which exists to provide an independent source of advice and challenge to BTAS. The Strategic Advisory Board has both lay and professional members and its terms of reference and membership are on the BTAS website: https://www.tbtas.org.uk/about-us/who-we-are/strategic-advisoryboard-2/.
We can now give more details as to how the changes to the Sanctions Guidance will be subject to consultation with both the Bar and with the wider public. The intention is to undertake a first public consultation over a period of six weeks beginning in April seeking views on proposals to amend the recommended ranges of sanctions for specific types of breaches. In the light of that consultation, the full Guidance will then be re-drafted and submitted for a further ten week consultation which it is intended will begin in July. We expect the revised Guidance to come into force in November. We very much hope that all those with an interest in these important matters will take part in the consultations and give their views. The consultation documents will be published on the BTAS website [link] and Press Notices will be issued. Anyone who wishes to register their interest in the consultation in advance should please email email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
BTAS AND THE CORONAVIRUS
The BTAS Tribunal Suite is closed to the public until further notice. If you wish to contact BTAS please do so by emailing email@example.com. We cannot guarantee to respond to postal and telephone enquiries.
Following the lockdown on 5 January 2021, hearings will be listed to take place remotely save where, after hearing the parties, there is a direction by a Tribunal Chair or Directions Judge that it is necessary in the interests of justice that the matter be dealt with in person in whole or in part.
BTAS cannot at present say when in person hearings will re-commence. It will keep the situation under review in the light of current legislation and government guidance and will take into account whether a particular matter needs to be dealt with urgently.
Members of the Public may request to observe an online hearing. Transcripts of online hearings will be made available on request.
PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL OF THE INNS OF COURT
On behalf of the President of the Council of the Inns of Court (COIC), the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service (BTAS) is responsible for appointing and administering:
- Disciplinary Tribunals for barristers facing charges of professional misconduct under the Bar Standards Board Handbook (Part 5B Enforcement Regulations; The Disciplinary Tribunal Regulations)
- Panels appointed under the Interim Suspension Rules of the Bar Standards Board Handbook (Part 5D Enforcement Regulations; The Interim Suspension and Disqualification Regulations)
- Panels appointed under the Fitness to Practice Rules of the Bar Standards Board Handbook (Part 5E Enforcement Regulations; The Fitness to Practise Regulations).
- Panels appointed under the Inns’ Conduct Committee (ICC) Rules appointed to consider admission and disciplinary cases brought by the Inns of Court against student members or applicants for admission to an Inn of Court.
Judicial, barrister and lay members are nominated by the President of the Council of the Inns of Court to sit on disciplinary tribunals and other panels. He also appoints barrister, judicial and lay panel members to sit on the Inns’ Conduct Committee and its panel hearings.
Panel members who sit on these hearings are appointed to a pool by the President, on the recommendation of the independent Tribunal Appointments Body (TAB).
Disciplinary hearings take place in public unless there has been a specific order that a particular hearing be held in private. Members of the public, press and the profession are welcome to attend those hearings held in public.
Inns’ Conduct Committee
The Inns’ Conduct Committee (ICC) is responsible for dealing with the misconduct of student members of all four Inns of Court. The committee is also responsible for considering applications for admission to an Inn, where details are disclosed which might affect an applicant or student being considered a fit and proper person to become a practising barrister.