Disciplinary Tribunal Members

Tribunal and Hearing Types

Disciplinary Tribunals for barristers, which consider the most serious  allegations of professional misconduct against barristers. There are currently two types of Tribunal - three person panels and five person panels:

  • Three person Tribunals are typically chaired by practising barrister QCs, but sometimes the Chair will be a judge. The other panel members consist of a practising barrister and a lay representative.
  • Five person Tribunals can last for several days and are usually chaired by a Deputy Circuit Judge. The other panel members consist of two practising barristers and two lay representatives.

The size of Tribunal is determined by the seriousness of the charges. The process and powers of the three or five member Tribunals are the same, except that only a five person Tribunal can suspend a barrister for longer than 12 months or disbar them (so they can no longer practise as barristers). Both Tribunals are able to hear oral evidence and make findings of fact.

Fitness to Practise Hearings. A barrister’s fitness to practise may be brought into question if it appears that he/she has an incapacity due to a medical condition (including an addiction to drugs or alcohol). The Panel must consider whether an individual’s fitness to practise is impaired to such an extent that restrictions on practise are necessary.

Interim Suspension Hearings take place when there is a need to determine whether it is in the public interest for a barrister to be immediately suspended, rather than be allowed to continue to practise while arrangements are made for a Disciplinary Tribunal to be convened, hear and determine the outcome of the case.

Inns’ Conduct Committee Hearings take place when it is necessary to consider whether an individual is a fit and proper person to be a practising barrister, and typically consider matters such as past criminal convictions or academic misconduct (e.g. plagiarism).

Appeals against Administrative Sanctions imposed directly by the Bar Standards Board are also considered by members of the Disciplinary Pool.

Further role information can be found in the Application Pack