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Media Comment

Purpose: To assist barristers in deciding whether and when they may express a personal opinion to or in the media, with a particular focus on comments about anticipated or current proceedings in which they have acted or expect to act (a situation in which personal comments to the media were previously prohibited)
Scope of application: All barristers
Issued by: The Ethics Committee
First reviewed: 01/11/2014
Last reviewed: 14/09/2022
Status and effect: Please see the notice at end of this document. This is not "guidance" for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4.

At one time, the 8th edition of the Code of Conduct contained a prohibition on expressing personal opinions to the media and in public statements in the following terms:

709.1 A barrister must not in relation to any anticipated or current proceedings or mediation in which he is briefed or expects to appear or has appeared as an advocate express a personal opinion to the press or other media or in any other public statement upon the facts or issues arising in the proceedings.

709.2 Paragraph 709.1 shall not prevent the expression of such an opinion on an issue in an educational or academic context.

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Important Notice

This document has been prepared by the Bar Council to assist barristers on matters of professional conduct and ethics. It is not “guidance” for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4, and neither the BSB nor a disciplinary tribunal nor the Legal Ombudsman is bound by any views or advice expressed in it. It does not comprise – and cannot be relied on as giving – legal advice. It has been prepared in good faith, but neither the Bar Council nor any of the individuals responsible for or involved in its preparation accept any responsibility or liability for anything done in reliance on it. For fuller information as to the status and effect of this document, please see here.

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