Bar survey - barristers set leading CSR example
27 February 2013
A survey conducted by the Bar Council, which represents
barristers in England and Wales, has found nearly half the
profession (42.4%), across all practice areas, regularly carry out
voluntary legal pro bono work, in addition to paid work. It also
found that 36.6% of the Bar regularly volunteer for non-legal
Such findings show that despite the economic pressures many
sections of the Bar are currently facing, the role that barristers
play in society has enormous value, and is both socially
responsible and publicly useful.
Key findings of the survey include:
42.4% of respondents regularly carry out voluntary legal pro
bono work in their local community
Over a third of respondents dedicate time to working for
Almost a quarter of respondents were found to devote more than
one working day per fortnight to voluntary work, and a third give
up more than one working day per month, and
The overwhelming majority of respondents believe that barristers
have a responsibility to lend their skills and knowledge to those
who cannot pay for them.
The Bar Council also confirmed, as announced by Immediate Past
Chairman, Michael Todd QC, last year, that as part of the
Practising Certificate Renewal process, it would be asking every
practising barrister to make a £30 opt-out donation to support the
work of the Bar Pro Bono Unit, in an effort to secure the vital
charity's long term financial sustainability.
Maura McGowan QC,Chairman of the Bar, said:
"The Bar has long demonstrated a strong sense of commitment and
duty towards legal pro bono work, but the findings of this survey
show an astounding level of dedication at the Bar to those in
society who need legal advice and representation, and to ensuring
access to justice.
"The private comments which respondents provided reflect the
pressure which many barristers are under, but despite those
pressures, they still place an enormous value on acting in a
socially responsible and publicly useful manner
"It must be unheard of for 42% of a predominantly self-employed
profession regularly to give away its primary services, free of
charge, to those most in need.
"The Government should take these findings into account when
looking at further cuts to fees at the publicly funded Bar. This
survey explicitly demonstrates the contribution the Bar makes to
the taxpayer and to society."
Notes to editors
1. For further information, please contact the
Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 or Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.
2. Over 500 barristers responded to the survey.
3. The results of the survey can be found here.
4. Further information about the Bar Pro Bono Unit can be found
5. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales.
The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory
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
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