Barristers will face ‘spot checks’ on whether they comply with the controversial new continuing professional development rules from next year under proposals outlined by the bar regulator.
Papers from the Bar Standards Board’s Education and Training Committee’s annual report, discussed at last week's board meeting, show that ‘spot checks will commence in early 2018’. An assessment framework for the process was considered by the committee this month and the plans will be finalised at the committee’s next meeting.
Also during the board meeting, it was revealed that the regulator's training committee could be wound up if the Legal Services Board approves the BSB's proposed changes to qualification. The board agreed to review the committee’s position in September next year.
Under the new CPD system, similar to that being introduced for solicitors, there is no obligation to attend accredited courses or to complete a set number of CPD hours.
Both barristers and solicitors will instead be required to meet their regulatory obligation to provide a proper standard of service by ‘regularly reflecting’ on their practice, and implementing a programme of individual learning and development. The rules have been in force since January for barristers and since November last year for solicitors.
The BSB says it carried out spot checks under the old system and the Gazette has asked how this will change.
Representative body the Bar Council was among critics of the new CPD rules, claiming they will create an ‘unfair burden’ on barristers.
On potentially disbanding the training committee, a spokesperson for the BSB told the Gazette: ‘Once the [future bar training] programme is substantively complete, the board will review the governance arrangements that are needed going forward. It is anticipated that this will not require a standing committee, but may instead need something more akin to a programme board to oversee implementation.’