Bar regulators were this week handed new powers to intervene in practices where they believe clients’ interests are not being protected. 

The Bar Standards Board introduced the new rules as part of an updated version of its handbook, published today. 

The powers are similar to those held by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which can close firms down where there is a suspicion of dishonesty or where clients need protection. The BSB, which can already intervene into alternative business structures, has been given the green light to adopt the new regulations by the Legal Services Board. 

Director of strategy and policy Ewen MacLeod said: ‘These new powers of intervention are an important addition to our range of regulatory tools.  

‘We expect to have to use them very infrequently and only in the rarest of situations where intervening is the only way in which we can safeguard clients’ interests.’ 

The regulator has appointed two specialist intervention ‘agents’ to act on its behalf should it deem it necessary to intervene in a barrister’s practice.