On Friday 29 October 2021, the Independent Decision-making Body [“IDB”] of the Bar Standards Board [“BSB”] decided to vary a previous decision of the BSB in relation to a third country national lawyer seeking admission to the Bar of England & Wales as a Qualified Foreign Lawyer [“the Applicant”].
The BSB had previously decided that the Applicant could not be granted full exemption from the academic and vocational stages of the relevant Bar training courses. The Applicant sought to review that decision. Further to legal submissions made on behalf of the Applicant, the IDB agreed to hold an oral hearing – something that is extremely rare – for the purpose of that review. Following that hearing, the IDB decided to allow the Applicant full exemption from the relevant Bar training courses, thereby upholding the submissions of the Applicant. The decision clarified the position to be taken by the BSB in such situations and in particular the interpretation to be given the rules in the BSB Handbook applicable to Qualified Foreign Lawyers.
Fergus Randolph QC acted pro bono on behalf of the Applicant.