Barristers will be able to conduct litigation and share business premises with non-barristers following approval of the Bar Standards Board's new handbook by the Legal Services Board.

The rules, designed to give barristers more freedom and flexibility, will come into effect from next January.

Under the new rules, self-employed barristers will be able to apply to extend their practising certificates to conduct litigation.

The BSB said: ‘This will relieve clients approaching public access barristers of the task of having to act as a self-representing litigant and conducting the administrative tasks themselves or going through a solicitor.’

Rules preventing barristers from sharing premises and forming associations with non-barristers have been removed, ‘allowing barristers to pool together risks and resources’.

BSB chair Lady Deech (pictured) said: ‘Superfluous rules have been stripped away and others modernised’.

Underpining the handbook will be new approaches to enforcement and supervision, with disciplinary action reserved for more serious ‘professional misconduct’ breaches and administrative sanctions extended to cover breaches which do not amount to ‘professional misconduct’.

Deech said: ‘Through developing a risk-based approach to supervision we will be better placed to work with the profession to prevent non-compliance from materialising in the first place or to avoid a recurrence of less serious non-compliance.’