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The Bar Council has today announced that, after an open competition run by an Appointments Panel, Baroness Ruth Deech has been appointed as the new Chair of the Bar Standards Board, and that Sir Geoffrey Nice QC will be the Vice-Chairman taking up their posts from 1st January 2009 in succession to Ruth Evans and George Leggatt QC.
Ruth Deech lectured in law at Oxford University for many years before being elected Principal of St Anne's College 1991-2004. She has extensive experience of regulatory bodies, having served as Chairman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (1994-2002), a Governor of the BBC (2002-2006) and as the first Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (2004-2008). She is an independent member of the House of Lords.
Baroness Deech said: The Bar has a very good track record of regulation, not only in respect of the low level of complaints against barristers but also in the way they have been handled by specialists. The Legal Services Act, however, has brought in new standards and levels of expectation in relation to the supervision of the legal profession, which the Bar Standards Board has every confidence it will meet. An excellent start was made under the chairmanship of Ruth Evans, dealing with important issues in the education and training of barristers, and I plan to continue her work in facing new issues, including complaints handling and the provision of legal services."
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC is a senior silk with a broad practice in Common Law work. He is internationally known for his work at the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague where he led the prosecution against Slobodan Milosevic. He sits as a Recorder, is a Bencher of Inner Temple, and a former Head of Chambers at 1, Temple Gardens. He has been active in the development of advocacy teaching, and has lectured widely. Sir Geoffrey said: "I am honoured to become the Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board, an honour that will be a privilege for me and all Board Members given the appointment of Baroness Deech as the Chair. She brings to the Board very wide experience and learning, together with personal humanity. The work of the Board she will lead will ensure that the Bar is viewed with confidence by the public it serves, and that the Bar will have trust in the Board that now regulates many of its affairs."
Commenting on the Appointment Ruth Evans said: "I am delighted that Baroness Deech and Sir Geoffrey Nice have been appointed as the new Chair and Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board. I am sure that they, together with the superb Board already in place, will ensure that the consumer and public interests are robustly defended under the new legislation. I wish them very well as they take up their new positions."
In welcoming the appointments the Chairman of the Bar Council, Timothy Dutton QC said: "The Bar Council warmly welcomes the appointment of Baroness Deech as chair of the BSB and Sir Geoffrey Nice as Vice-Chair. Baroness Deech is a person who is equally distinguished in her academic life as she is in her public life, and she will bring to the BSB the benefit of enormous experience and great intellectual distinction. Sir Geoffrey Nice will bring a depth of knowledge of the practice of law and of the legal profession here and abroad to his work for the BSB. They will inspire confidence in the BSB both from the public and the profession. We look forward to working with the BSB under their leadership as the BSB charts a regulatory course for the public and the profession in what will be interesting times as the profession and its regulator look to a future under the Legal Services Act"