Barristers under threat from cyberattacks, warns Bar Standards Board

updated on 06 November 2018

Barristers are as vulnerable to cyberattacks as solicitors, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has warned, as the increase in technology used at the Bar and in court presents opportunities for cybercrime.

As chambers rarely have their own IT resources or “specialist information risk management expertise”, the BSB expressed concern over the security of the Bar’s data and digital infrastructure, especially as “solicitors have already fallen victim to a range of IT threats and cyberattacks”.

In a consultation on its strategic programme for 2019-2022, the BSB addressed several issues affecting the future of the Bar, including technological innovation and artificial intelligence, working cultures and limited access to justice.

Commenting on the threat of technology causing innovation and disruption within the market, the report said: "The introduction of significant technological reform of court proceedings will lead to changes in working practices that may lead to a number of risks to the delivery of barristers’ services.

"Greater expectation around technical competence could also place additional burdens on the Bar, particularly if clients are unable to access the required technology…

"Research suggests that greater use of technology within the courts has already created some barriers to the quality of advocacy, in particular potential difficulties involved in retrieving and managing information on digital systems, and the impact of the widespread use of electronic devices, such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones, upon the ways in which advocates communicate in the courtroom."