Bar Council focuses in on health and wellbeing at the Bar

21 October 2014

The Bar Council has launched a survey to assess health and wellbeing at the Bar, and to identify risk factors which may impact on a barrister's performance.

The survey forms part of a larger wellbeing project coordinated by the Bar Council, which aims to provide valuable insights into the unique aspects of a barristers' working environment and how this impacts on psychological health and wellbeing.

The project is supported by the Inns of Court, the Institute of Barristers' Clerks, the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, and Law Care.

Data collected from the survey aims to highlight wellbeing as fundamental to sustaining performance as a barrister, and to empower and equip members in addressing risky behaviours which affect their performance.

Responses are anonymous and treated as strictly confidential, with data analysed by an independent third party. Only aggregated data will be made available.

Nicholas Lavender QC, Chairman of the Bar, said:

"The Bar Council is committed to equipping the profession with the skills and knowledge to recognise and address behaviours which might impact on their wellbeing and performance as a result of workplace pressures.

"By undertaking this vital research, we plan to develop practical tools and learning materials to support barristers in sustaining their performance whilst managing the demands of practice.

"Wellbeing, and mental health more generally, within the legal profession is rarely spoken about. Through our wellbeing campaign, we aim to dismantle the stigma associated with seeking help.

"Given the recent increased pressures on the Bar, there has never been a more important time to give this issue the attention it deserves."

Rachel Spearing, Barrister and Chair of the Wellbeing at the Bar Programme,said:

"The Bar, by its very nature, is a stressful place to work. From the speed at which cases can change to the often isolating nature and responsibilities of self-employed practice, barristers are acutely at risk from performance-inhibiting factors.

"It is also equally important that we support those entering the profession to develop the skills needed to manage their wellbeing in a challenging work environment.

"Now, more than ever, we need to encourage discussion on the topic and rethink our attitudes towards health and wellbeing."

  ENDS

Notes to Editors 

1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

2. Information on the Bar Council's Wellbeing at the Bar project and survey can be found here: http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/for-the-bar/wellbeing-at-the-bar/

3. The  Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad. 

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board