Toby Young, founder of the Free Speech Union, warned that the guidance was “unavoidably imprecise” and open to interpretation.
He questioned the use of the word “gratuitous” and said it was not clear when a “robust response” to a point of view one disagrees with would turn into “harassment”.
He said: “This guidance represents a good-faith effort to balance barristers’ right to freedom of expression with the need to protect the reputation of the profession, but the problem is the language used by the BSB when describing what it has a ‘regulatory interest’ in is unavoidably imprecise and open to interpretation. For instance, what is an acceptable criticism of the justice system and what is ‘gratuitous’? At what point does a robust response to someone with whom you disagree cross the line and become ‘harassment’?”
Will Bolton, The Telegraph, 24th September 2023.