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Do Barristers Need Insurance?

By Maria Hickey on September 16th, 2022

Barrister Insurance is a legal requirement for all self-employed barristers in England and Wales. The Bar Standards Board requires barristers to have at least a primary layer of professional indemnity insurance but protecting yourself and your law career with barrister insurance goes much further than this.

Professional indemnity insurance offers barristers protection against:

  • Claims made against them in respect of civil liabilities
  • The costs of defending such Claims
  • The costs of defending Disciplinary Proceedings in certain circumstances

Anyone working in a profession that offers legal or professional advice and guidance, such as barristers, business advisors, consultants, etc., must protect themselves from clients making a claim against them for giving bad advice.

Suppose the advice you give to your client is considered incorrect and causes them to suffer a financial loss or causes damage to their business reputation. In that case, professional indemnity insurance will come to the rescue.

Mistakes happen, and whether or not you give bad advice, you can still be held accountable. It can be a lengthy and costly process to go through a compensation claim, and professional indemnity insurance will be invaluable for paying compensation settlements and protecting your finances.

Public liability insurance for barristers

For anyone working directly with the public, you will need to cover yourself with public liability insurance. This coverage is designed to help you deal with compensation claims for accidents, injuries and damage to the personal property of your clients or any member of the public that enters your premises.

Public Liability Insurance for barristers isn’t a legal requirement. Still, it makes sense to protect yourself with this insurance as your clients and anyone visiting your office is at risk of suffering personal injury or property damage during the course of their dealings with you. Your policy will help meet the cost of any awards made against you and pay for your defence costs in respect of any claim.

Suppose a client arranges a meeting with you but slips and falls on a wet patch on the floor, injuring themselves or causing damage to their clothing or personal property, such as their smartphone. They will be perfectly entitled to make a claim against you, which can run into tens of thousands of pounds for personal injury claims.

Employer’s liability insurance for barristers

Suppose you have any employees working for you. In that case, whether they are full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal or voluntary for work experience, you will require employers’ liability insurance to protect you against claims.

Everyone that employs staff is responsible for their health and wellbeing at work. Employer’s liability insurance ensures that precautions are in place to take care of both your staff and yourself should anything happen where they need to claim compensation.

While employer’s liability insurance will cover your needs if an employee injures themselves in the course of their work, it will also protect you against claims from former employees.

It makes sense to compensate staff for injuries sustained on your premises or while performing off-site duties. However, even after a staff member has left your employ, you can still be held liable for any illness caused during their employment with you.

Building and contents insurance for barristers

Many barristers will rent their offices from commercial landlords, but others will buy a property to operate their law firm from. If you own the building, you need to protect yourself from the risks of property ownership.

What would happen if the structure of your building was damaged by fire or flood or was rendered unsafe due to storm damage? Could you afford to make the necessary repairs to the building’s structure to make it safe, or even pay for a complete rebuild if the property was lost in a fire emergency? This is why building insurance is so essential if you own the property you work from.

If you rent your law business premises from a commercial landlord, the building is likely to be insured by your landlord. However, you should never assume this is the case. Some commercial landlords pass the responsibility for building insurance onto their tenants. You should check that you have not been made responsible for the building’s insurance under the terms of your lease.

Replacing your building’s contents can add thousands of pounds to your repairs or renovation bill following a devastating fire or flood. No matter how careful you are to protect your offices, the unexpected can happen at any time, and you could lose your whole business to fire in a few short minutes. If your contents are lost or damaged by fire or flood, you need an appropriately built insurance policy to protect your business finances.

Office insurance for barristers

Office insurance is practical protection to take out when you provide services from an office. Unlike standard contents insurance, office insurance goes a step further to cover things that may not be included in a standard contents insurance policy.

Like many other office-based businesses, barristers use computers and other electronic equipment that would be difficult to function without. Keeping valuable business assets onsite is also a considerable temptation for criminals, so having good office insurance cover will help you replace lost, damaged or stolen assets that are essential for your work.

Brisco Business insurance can help build an office insurance policy perfect for barristers. Office insurance cover can include:

  • Computer equipment insurance: Barristers rely on computers, and it can become almost impossible to operate an efficient law firm without these assets. You can build an office insurance policy that specifically covers your essential computer assets. It will cover the cost of repairing or replacing damaged or stolen IT equipment to help minimise costly downtime. You can also take out cover to protect yourself against computer breakdown or lost revenue due to data loss or erasure.
  • Employee theft insurance: While it may be unthinkable that any employee would steal from you, it does happen across all business sectors, including law. Employee theft insurance (or theft by employee insurance) should be considered an extra layer of protection for your law firm should any employees steal money, IT assets or sensitive data from your computer system.

Conclusion

Barrister’s insurance can include many different cover elements. This is why it makes sense to build the most effective policy to meet your needs with the help of a business insurance specialist, such as Brisco Business Insurance.

Our team of knowledgeable and experienced brokers can compare quotes to build a perfect barristers insurance policy. All the elements you need will be included, such as barrister’s indemnity insurance, along with other essential covers to protect yourself from the risks that come with your industry.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to barrister’s insurance, so by working with our Brisco Business Insurance team, you will make the most informed choice about your insurance cover.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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