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From Trinity Call 2021, the Bar Standards Board requires all those wanting to be Called to the Bar to have a standard UK Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record check.

Those who have lived outside the UK for 12 months or more within a period of 5 years will also need to have the equivalent international checks carried out. You will apply for this through the Inn, so please do not obtain one for yourself.

The DBS check will form part of the Fit and Proper Person checks required prior to Call to the Bar; further information regarding these checks can be found on the BSB website.

The Inns have taken on a very experienced external organisation, Due Diligence Checking Ltd (DDC), to deal with the checks. We are confident that this will make the process as straightforward as possible for you.


The Inns will cover the cost of the administration fee and will only pass on the actual cost of the checks themselves to you.

For the Standard DBS check the cost is £23.00

The cost for international checks varies country by country – an estimate of those costs can be found here.

Additional costs for the following may also be applicable:

  • the cost for the relevant international check/s
  • the cost for translation, if the criminal record report is produced in a language other than English
  • the cost for identification verification via a video call
  • the postage or courier costs associated with sending identification documentation, where applicable

Validity of Check

Once issued the DBS certificate is only valid for 1 year. Therefore, you can apply for all Call ceremonies within this time period.

Identification Checks

The Inn’s have arranged for DDC to carry out onsite identifications at locations across England and Wales. However, due to COVID and government guidelines, these in person checks are postponed. DDC will be verifying identification documents with you via video call. Following the video call, you are required to post documents to DDC but the Inn’s have agreed to cover the cost of the postage. However, if you are applying outside of the UK, you will have to pay for your documents to be sent to DDC via a courier. All documents will be returned to you.

Processing Timeline

When you have submitted your online application, made payment and the identification checks have been completed, DDC will acquire the Standard UK DBS check, and, if required, the necessary international criminal records checks for you.

The checks will be returned to the applicant and Inn as follows:

  • Standard UK DBS check – within 3 working days
  • International checks – within 12 working days for the majority of checks. Processing times will vary country to country. For further guidance on the processing time for a specific country, please contact DDC.

Privacy Notice

To facilitate these checks, and to ensure they are carried out in good time for applicants to be called to the Bar, it is necessary for the Inn to transfer some of your data to Due Diligence Checking Ltd (DDC). When you became a member, you read the Inn’s Data Privacy Notice and consented to the processing of your personal data. However, the Inn’s have created a supplement privacy notice statement regarding DBS checks.

Additionally, it may be necessary for DDC to undertake a search with an external organisation for the purposes of verifying your identity. To do so, the organisation (Experian Limited) may check the name, address and date of birth you supply against any particulars on any database (public or otherwise) to which they have access. A record of the search will be retained but will not be visible to other parties or affect your credit rating. You will be required to provide written consent for this search to be undertaken ahead of the process of obtaining criminal record checks commencing.

Policy Statement

The Inn’s have also created a Policy Statement which sets out our commitment to the fair and appropriate use of criminal record data in its role as an organisation assessing applicants’ suitability for Call to the Bar.

Further Questions

DDC have been tasked with delivering applicant identification (ID) checks, obtaining DBS standard checks and, if necessary, obtaining the equivalent overseas checks. After reading the above, if you have queries regarding what the process will entail for you, please contact DDC here and not the Inn.

Waiver for criminal record checks for those applying for Call in 2023

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the BSB has introduced a very limited waiver in relation to obtaining criminal records checks for Call. Download the full policy and application form. Once completed email your completed form to Samantha Phillips.

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