The Bar Standards Board should update its social media policy amid concern about barristers’ conduct online, the regulator’s independent observer has suggested. 

In her final report to the regulator, former banker Isobel Leaviss said the BSB’s current policy, which surrounds ‘media comment’, should be updated. Leaviss has been working with the BSB for the last five years observing its day-to-day workings and its policy guidelines.

She told the BSB’s board meeting yesterday that she had seen no real cause for concern in its governance and that its system was operating within its aims and objectives.

However Leaviss said barristers themselves should be wary in their use of social media following a ‘number of complaints’ and that the BSB should look at updating its guidelines.

Currently, the BSB’s social media policy falls within its ‘media comment’ policy and allows barristers to use social media provided they are not impacting cases or clients.

It adds that barristers must not behave in a way that is likely to diminish their independence or the public’s trust in the profession.

In October last year, the Gazette reported that barrister Ian Millard had been disbarred for posting ‘seriously offensive’ tweets that targeted Jews, quoted Hitler and criticised Muslims and black people.