Bar Standards Board Compliance

Our team of experts includes consultants with specialist experience and detailed insight into Bar Standards Board (BSB) related compliance issues.

We routinely assist Barristers and Chambers of all sizes in understanding and complying with the core duties, outcomes and rules as set out in the BSB Handbook.

In addition to accepting ad hoc instructions, we also offer BSB regulated clients an ongoing retainer service.  The purpose of the retainer service is to ensure that organisations are one step ahead of the game by maintaining a managerial system which meets or exceeds the requirements of the BSB.

We have experience in advising on, preparing and submitting new entity applications for authorisation and have unrivalled experience in the ABS application process and regulatory framework.

For any advice, guidance and assistance on BSB compliance matters and the governing policies, Amie Higgins is the go to person. She is knowledgeable, extremely thorough and a pleasure to work with.

Tasaddat Hussain
Barrister, Garden Court North Chambers

Applying for Authorisation

The Legal Services Act allows Solicitors and Barristers to run a practice which is authorised by either the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or the Bar Standards Board (BSB).  This means that there is a choice for prospective entities to make in terms of which regulator to apply to.

Setting up a new entity is a daunting prospect.  Applying for authorisation from the BSB requires an investment of time and money and an understanding of the requirements of the BSB in terms of the policies that your entity must have in place. The application process can be somewhat complex, requiring a lot of detailed information about the formation of the entity, the proposed client base and your risk management strategies.

BSB Authorised Body

You can apply to the BSB for authorisation as a single entity, now known as ‘BSB Authorised Bodies’.  These are bodies fully owned and managed by authorised individuals, i.e. lawyers with current practising certificates.

BSB Licensed Body

You can apply to the BSB for authorisation as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) or ‘BSB Licensed Body’ These are bodies owned and managed by authorised individuals and non-authorised individuals, i.e. non-lawyers.

To be authorised by the BSB as an entity, an applicant must:

  1. Satisfy the mandatory requirements
  2. Be considered by the BSB to be an appropriate entity for it to regulate
  3. Satisfy the BSB that it will be competently managed and comply with the rules, and that its owners, managers, HOLP and HOFA meet the suitability criteria

If an applicant is considered to meet the mandatory criteria, then the BSB will consider whether it is an appropriate entity for it to regulate. If it concludes that it is, the BSB may nevertheless still refuse to authorise an entity if it is not satisfied that it will be adequately managed and run in compliance with the rules. It is therefore imperative that the application process addresses these issues in full.

What is the BSB looking for when considering an application?

Broadly speaking, the BSB will consider the following factors primarily when considering whether to authorise an entity;

  • the services that the entity intends to provide and the nature and extent of any non-reserved activities;
  • the proposed proportion of managers to employees;
  • the proposed proportion of authorised individuals to non-authorised individuals;
  • the extent to which its managers have been and/or are going to be actively involved in advocacy and/or litigation services or related advice;
  • whether any persons with an ownership interest (whether material or not) are not individuals;
  • whether any managers are not individuals;
  • whether the entity is intending to provide high-volume, standardised legal advice or standardised legal transactional services direct to lay clients and, if so, whether this is likely to constitute a substantial or significant proportion of its practice; and
  • the systems that the entity will have in place to manage such services and associated risks.

Is BSB Authorisation right for me?

As a specialist legal services regulator, the BSB’s particular specialist focus is on the regulation of advocacy and related litigation services and expert legal advice. The BSB is more likely to be considered an appropriate regulator for an entity where the following factors are present:

  • all owners and all managers are individuals;
  • 50% or more of the owners and 50% or more of the managers are entitled to exercise rights of audience in the Higher Courts;
  • a substantial part of the services to be provided are advocacy and/or litigation services and expert legal advice;
  • the entity is not intending to provide high-volume, standardised legal transactional services;
  • 75% or more of owners and 75% or more of managers are authorised individuals;
  • a substantial proportion of employees are going to be authorised individuals; and
  • each manager supervises only a small number of employees.

The BSB would normally only authorise an entity if:

  • any owner of the entity is also a manager;
  • the entity will not be a multi-disciplinary practice

BSB v SRA Regulation

The most notable difference between entities regulated by the BSB and those regulated by the SRA is that BSB regulated entities may not directly or indirectly hold client money. This means that  most BSB regulated entities operate on a fixed fee basis with many clients paying for their services in advance.

The cost of Professional Indemnity Insurance for BSB authorised bodies and licensed bodies is significantly less than SRA regulated practices

How can we help?

We have Consultants with significant experience in assisting with BSB authorisation applications and who provide dedicated advice and assistance with all aspects of running BSB authorised bodies and licensed bodies.

We provide assistance from preliminary advice in respect of the authorisation application process and the required documentation and information to ongoing advice and support in respect of running the practice and maintaining ongoing compliance with the BSB requirements.

Whether you are looking for authorisation as a single entity, looking to set up Chambers with others or looking to set up an ABS with non-lawyer managers, we can advise and guide you through every step of the process.

Our services include;

  • Advising on, preparing and submitting BSB regulated entity authorisation applications
  • Advice and assistance with the HOLP and HOFA roles
  • Advice and assistance with the Equality & Diversity and Data Diversity Officer roles
  • Drafting and preparing Business Plans
  • Drafting and preparing Financial Plans
  • Advice and assistance with completing Regulatory Returns
  • Drafting BSB compliant plans, policies and procedures
  • Advice and guidance on compliance with the Transparency Rules
  • Conducting website reviews and drafting updates to ensure compliance with the Transparency Rules
  • Advice and assistance with annual reviews of BSB compliant policies and required documentation

Amie was just brilliant, informative and reassuring, super efficient and extremely helpful. I felt in very safe hands at every stage with her preparing the required documents for my application and explaining the content and the process, would not hesitate to recommend her, thank you!

Lisa Smith
Heritage Park Family Law

Why choose us?

We can offer you a dedicated service from an experienced Consultant who will support you with every aspect of BSB compliance.

Contact us

To discover more about how we can help you and your entity/Chambers with compliance issues, please call 01509 214 999, send us an email or complete our free enquiry form.