Bar Council at Party Conferences

16 September 2013

The Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, will make its case to parliamentarians across the political spectrum to protect access to justice and highlight the important contribution that the Bar makes to civic life and the economy at the Annual Party Conferences.

It has published a Party Conference Briefing, available here, which summarises the points which the Bar Council will be making to policy makers.

Mark Hatcher, Director of Representation and Policy, said:

"As the Bar Council meets with MPs and parliamentarians throughout the Conference season, we shall be explaining the impact that the Ministry of Justice's legal aid and judicial review proposals, currently being consulted on, will have on our global reputation for ensuring effective access to justice and upholding the rule of law. The primary beneficiaries of a strong and viable legal aid system are the members of the public who depend upon it, not the practitioners who represent them.

"Cuts to legal aid are the harshest in the public sector and the amount of money which the Government is seeking to save does not justify the consequences of these cuts which will impact heavily on the quality of both criminal and civil legal aid.

"The Government has been extremely supportive in promoting the UK legal services sector internationally, and has recognised the Bar makes a significant contribution to our economy. But it must ensure that the justice system is genuinely open to all, not least our own citizens without the means to pay for it themselves."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. For further information, please contact the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 or Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

2. The Bar Council's Party Conference Briefing 2013 is here.

3. The Chairman of the Bar Council, Maura McGowan QC, will speak at the Society of Labour Lawyers' Question Time fringe from 19:30 on Sunday 22 September in the Hilton Brighton Metropole (inside the secure zone).

4. 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.