The bar’s regulator is pushing to make qualification routes to the bar more flexible, as it launches a consultation to define the skills and attributes newly qualified barristers should have.

Through the consultation, the Bar Standards Board will develop a ‘professional statement’ to define what a barrister should be able to do on their first day, to assist educators and trainers in designing qualification routes to the bar. 

The move follows a proposal by the BSB to take a more hands-off approach to the design of pupillages, in order to put chambers and employers back in charge.

The ‘professional statement’ would consist of four elements: technical legal characteristics, personal values and standards, management of practice and ability to work with others.

While the bar regulator initially worked with the Solicitors Regulation Authority to develop the ‘professional statement’, the two bodies were unable to agree upon a common document, the BSB said. 

However, there has been a consistency of approach between them, it added.

‘We want to work closely with the profession to create a professional statement that reflects what a barrister needs to be able to do from the point at which they are issued a full practising certificate and provide an invaluable point of reference for anyone designing the training,’ Simon Thornton-Wood, director of education and training for the BSB said.

The BSB also plans to develop threshold standards which will set out what barristers must be able to do when they enter the profession, whereas the professional statement will set out what barristers should be able to do, with the wording more aspirational in some places. 

The statement would not replace the requirements set out in the BSB Handbook, but will help barristers, trainers and clients to see what they can expect of a newly qualified barrister.

The consultation period started today and ends on 12 June.