Barristers are reminded that they are at all times responsible personally for their professional conduct, ethics and decisions. Whilst the Bar Council aims to guide and assist, you must reach your own conclusion on what your professional obligations and ethics require of you in any particular situation.
Complaints against you
In the event of a complaint against you, however, you may find it easier to explain your actions if:
- you have consulted relevant documents published by the Bar Council and/or contacted the Ethical Enquiries Service
- you can show how, in deciding what course of action to take, you have taken into account the content of those documents and any views or advice received
In particular, the BSB or Legal Ombudsman may regard it as relevant in deciding what, if any, action to take against you in the event of a complaint; and either the BSB, the Legal Ombudsman or a disciplinary tribunal may regard it as relevant to whether you have breached your professional obligations, and may take it into account in mitigation of any penalty or other consequences.
Referring an oral reponse to an ethical enquiry
If you wish to be able to refer to any oral response to an ethical enquiry, then the onus is on you to take a note of that response and to have that note confirmed by the person on the Ethical Enquiries Service who gave it. We recommend you seek this confirmation within a week of the call in order that the adviser is able to recall the conversation as accurately as possible.
Please note: we do not record calls made to the ethical enquiries service.
Responses made in writing
If a response is given to you in writing, then the Bar Council will retain a copy of that response and the original query for no more than 18 months.
If you wish to refer to an oral or written response (or to any advice given in or in relation to it) then the identity of the person who provided it may not be disclosed without the prior consent of that person or the Chairman of the Ethics Committee, except in the following situation: you may disclose their identity when responding to a complaint made to the Bar Standards Board or the Legal Ombudsman.