Code of Conduct for Barristers in England and Wales

The Code of Conduct for barristers in England and Wales is set out in the Bar Standards Board Handbook as 10 Core Duties for barristers.

Core Duty 1
A barrister must observe their duty to the court in the administration of justice. For example, during a trial, a barrister must present all relevant case law and factual evidence honestly and without omitting information that could influence the court's decision, even if it is unfavourable to their client's case.

Core Duty 2
A barrister must act in the best interests of each client. For example, a barrister advises their client to accept a favourable out-of-court settlement that resolves the dispute quickly and cost-effectively, rather than pursuing a prolonged and risky trial.

Core Duty 3
A barrister must act with honesty and integrity. for example, a barrister refuses to present false evidence or make misleading statements in court, even if doing so might benefit their client in the short term.

Core Duty 4
A barrister must maintain their independence. For example, a barrister does not allow personal relationships or external pressures, such as financial incentives from a third party, to influence their professional judgment and actions.

Core Duty 5
A barrister must not behave in a way which is likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in them or in the profession. For example, a barrister avoids any conduct, both in and out of court, that could be seen as unethical or unprofessional, such as engaging in criminal activity or public misconduct.

Core Duty 6
A barrister must keep the affairs of each client confidential. For example, a barrister ensures that all documents and communications related to a client's case are securely stored and not disclosed to unauthorised parties, maintaining strict confidentiality at all times.

Core Duty 7
A barrister must provide a competent standard of work and service to each client. For example, a barrister thoroughly prepares for a case by researching relevant laws, interviewing witnesses, and developing a strong argument, ensuring they provide the highest standard of legal representation.

Core Duty 8
A barrister must not discriminate unlawfully against any person.For example, a barrister treats all clients, colleagues, and court staff with respect and equality, regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic.

Core Duty 9
A barrister must be open and co-operative with their regulators. For example, if the Bar Standards Board requests information about a barrister’s conduct, the barrister responds promptly and fully, providing all necessary documentation and explanations.

Core Duty 10
A barrister must take reasonable steps to manage their practice, or carry out their role within their practice, competently and in such a way as to achieve compliance with their legal and regulatory obligations. For example, a barrister implements effective case management systems, ensures they are up-to-date with continuing professional development (CPD) requirements, and complies with all relevant legal and regulatory standards in their practice.

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