Five Reasons Barristers need a GDPR Certification


Due to the nature of the information barristers handle daily, when it comes to data protection, the Bar is a high-risk profession. With the rising number of targeted cyber-attacks on barristers and chambers adding to the concern surrounding more traditional risks, such as the leaving of papers on a train, the Bar Council has identified GDPR and information security as one of the biggest challenges facing the profession. The consequences for barristers, chambers and the profession of failing at GDPR compliance are enormous.

To help barristers and chambers avoid fines and serious damage to their professional reputation the Bar Council is providing barristers with the opportunity to achieve GDPR Certification.

 But how does a GDPR Certification help?

  1. It’s the best way to avoid a fine


The Information Commissioner's Office (or 'ICO') has recently stated that having achieved a certification in GDPR will help businesses mitigate against possible ICO enforcement action, including prosecution and fines.

Not usually known for their transparency when it comes to how businesses can avoid sanctions, this is a significant piece of information from the ICO, and one that barristers and chambers should take advantage of.


2. Avoid disciplinary action by the Bar Standards Board

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) require that each barrister complies with any data protection obligations imposed by law.

Failure to do so is a disciplinary offence. You can use a GDPR Certification to evidence compliance to the BSB. 

3. Maintain or increase your caseload.

 Many banks, insurance companies and government bodies now require evidence of GDPR compliance, as well as elevated security standards from counsel. Use a GDPR certification as evidence of comprehensive compliance and ensure continued, and increased instructions from these clients.


4. Get ahead of your competition

When working with instructing solicitors or partaking in tenders, chambers have to constantly demonstrate why their counsel should get briefed instead of a competitor set. In this world continually focused on data privacy, a GDPR Certification can put you and your colleagues in chambers ahead of your competition, securing more cases and revenue.


5. The Bar is under attack - Protect yourself

The barrister community has been actively and repeatedly targeted by cyber-criminals in the past eight weeks or so. At least five sets of chambers and their barristers have been victims of these active cyber-criminals, and we have worked with a number who have had to report these as data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

It is no longer enough to assume that as long as you don’t make a mistake, you’ll be okay. You may face an ICO investigation even though you and your set are a victim of crime, and this is outside of your control. You as a barrister should be aware of this very real threat and take action to protect yourself urgently, both in terms of ensuring robust GDPR compliance is in place and that your IT security mechanisms are fit for purpose. A GDPR Certification will quickly and efficiently ensure your compliance is up to date and aid your defence if you find yourself in this position.

 The GDPR Certification will be of particular assistance to barristers who:

  • have heightened responsibility for the protection of chambers due to their role as Head of Chambers or as a member of chambers' Management Committee

  • rely on publicly funded work

  • work with specialised and highly regulated industries

  • want to remain or become competitive within their specialist area

  • wish to ensure robust GDPR compliance to avoid fines

  • wish to protect professional reputation and practice

  • want a fast, effective way to meet legislative and BSB required standards on GDPR


To find out more about the Bar Council GDPR Certification please click here