The BSB has today issued a consultation paper on amending its regulatory restrictions on barristers to widen the circumstances in which they can practise in house. This is helpful at the BSB's rules were particularly restrictive.
This move has to be seen against the wider background of the pressure being placed on front line regulators by the Legal Services Board to remove unnecessary restrictions on in house legal teams. The SRA is due to publish a paper next month in response to this.
The effect of all of this is that in house teams are likely to have much greater freedom in choosing who to act for beyond their employer. This will open up new opportunities and, it is hoped by the LSB, increase competition in the market.
The current "scope of practice" rules do not permit some of the more flexible working practices that are becoming commonplace. This includes temporary or locum work, and other arrangements where the employer's preference is to contract with an entity or agency for the provision of in-house services.