This will give you a brief overview of the Criminal Record Check process. 


The requirement for Call to the Bar

All individuals, including Transferring Legal Professionals, being called to the Bar on or after 1 July 2021 are required to undergo a Standard UK DBS check and, if necessary, the equivalent international checks. The criminal record checks form part of the 'fit and proper checks' required prior to Call to the Bar. 

All required checks must be issued to the Inn via DDC at least two weeks prior to an applicant’s Call to the Bar date. Failure to obtain the check/s by this deadline will result in you being ineligible for Call.

How to request a criminal record check

You can now request a criminal record check as part of the online Call to the Bar application process, therefore, you will find a section on the application where you can request one.

Validity of a criminal record check for Call to the Bar

Each check has a lifespan of 12 months from the date of issuance and will be considered valid for any Call ceremonies scheduled to occur within that period.

I already have a check, can I use this?

We cannot accept independently obtained DBS checks or criminal record checks issued by other organisations. The Inns have collectively assessed the risks involved with utilising the DBS Update Service and have decided that this provision will not be used for fit and proper checks at Call. This is because: 

  • the Inns cannot view a certificate that was issued at an enhanced level. 
  • the Inns cannot complete the necessary identification verification or original certification verification within the available resources. 
  • the difficulty this creates with ensuring that an adequate overseas address history check has also been carried out 

Therefore, you must complete the relevant criminal record check request form to obtain your checks from DDC, via the Inn, for the purpose of Call to the Bar. If you defer your Call or need to reapply, you may use your check produced by DDC for the purpose of Call to the Bar as long as it is still valid.

Criminal Record Check waivers

The BSB has introduced a very limited waiver in relation to obtaining criminal records checks for Call. An applicant may only apply for a waiver if one, or both, of the following criteria are met: 

  • it is unlawful for you to send the original ID documentation from the country where you are residing; and/or 
  • sending your original ID documents would represent a threat to your personal safety or freedom.

Further information regarding the waiver criteria and guidelines, can be viewed via the online application form that can be accessed here.

Further information about the criminal record check process, including the cost of the checks can be found via the Criminal Record Check Factsheet.