Your Bar Council needs you

19 August 2015

Uncle Sam

There are many ways to get involved with the Bar Council and have a greater say on issues affecting the Bar and the wider legal sector, as well as play a part in raising the profession's profile and helping the next generation of barristers develop their careers. 

Below are the many ways barristers can get involved with the work of the Bar Council, the national representative body for barristers in England & Wales. 

Bar Council 2016 elections

It is almost that time of year when the Bar Council reaches out to its membership, seeking nominations for elected members of the Council. 

Elected Bar Council members represent their constituency - whether that is practice area, Circuit or colleagues with a similar length of Call - and bring their views to the Bar Council's attention for discussion and debate. Becoming an elected member of the Bar Council provides a real chance to get involved in how the Bar Council discharges its representative functions and an opportunity to represent the profession. The Bar Council is keen to ensure that members reflect the diversity of our profession and would like to encourage all eligible members of the Bar to consider standing for election. 

There are vacancies in the following categories: self-employed QC; self-employed junior over 7 years' call, self-employed junior under 7 years' call, employed QC or junior over 7 years' call and employed junior under 7 years' call. Dual practitioners are invited to stand in the category (self-employed or employed) in which they conduct the majority of their work. 

The Bar Council meets seven times a year on a Saturday morning and members are expected to attend as many of these meetings as possible. Crèche facilities are provided where requested. Elected Bar Council members are also invited to serve on one or more representative committees which meet on average six to ten times a year, normally on a weekday evening. There are dial-in and audio conferencing facilities for those who are unable to attend representative committee meetings in person. You can read more about representative committees here

The detailed process for standing as a candidate for the 2016 Bar Council will be published during the week commencing 31 August. In the meantime, you can get an idea of the business of the Bar Council by reading the minutes of previous meetings here. If you have any questions about the election process or what it means to be a member of the Council, please contact JGreen@BarCouncil.org.uk

There are other ways to get involved in the work of the Bar Council. As well as welcoming general feedback throughout the year, we often seek individuals to assist on specific matters. Here are some areas where your Bar Council needs YOU. 

Contracting project

In the last edition of BarTalk, we let you know about our project on contracting, specifically how the Bar is currently or may wish to contract or bid for work and what the Bar Council can do to support the Bar in this area. We are looking at contracting in the context of business, local authorities and the Legal Aid Agency for family and civil work. We want to hear from practitioners keen to express their views and experience about contracting, and also to encourage clerks and practice managers to respond to our contracting survey, sent out recently through the Institute of Barristers' Clerks. At the moment, we have yet to hear from anyone on the Midland Circuit and would like that area to be represented in the project. If you would like to get involved contact Natalie Darby (NDarby@BarCouncil.org.uk). 

Bar Media Index 

The Bar Council's Press Office is inviting practising barristers to join its comprehensive directory of practitioners happy to be contacted by the media to speak as an authority on their particular areas of expertise. Subscription to the Index is voluntary and the list will be used and maintained exclusively by the Bar Council Press Office. Barristers can advise on their preferred method of contact, and whether they are happy for their details to be passed directly to media.

The Bar Media Index is an opportunity for barristers to raise their individual profile and reputation. They will speak in their own capacity as an expert in their particular field(s), independent from the Bar Council.  If you would like to sign up or would like more information, please email the Bar Council Press Office with your name, where you work, area(s) of expertise, and preferred method of contact. 

Annual General Meeting 

This year, the Bar Council's Annual General Meeting will take place on 19 September 2015 at 11.00 at the Bar Council offices. As well as presenting the annual report and accounts, the AGM provides an opportunity to any barrister holding a valid practising certificate or subscribing voluntarily to the Bar Council (other than retired or overseas subscribers) to bring forward any resolution (whilst noting the provisions of paragraph 7 of Schedule III of the Bar Council's Constitution) for discussion and decision of the AGM, provided that prior notice of the intention to do so shall have been given in writing to the Chief Executive, and that the resolution is seconded by another subscriber. Resolutions should be forwarded to the Chief Executive, Stephen Crowne, at the Bar Council by 17.00 on Friday 28 August 2015. 

Share your experiences 

Contribute your own experiences at the Bar Council-led Family Career Breaksseminars or the Bar Council's Pupillage Clinic for disabled practitioners. You can get involved by emailing our Head of Equality & Diversity and CSR, Sam Mercer @ SMercer@BarCouncil.org.uk

Volunteer as a mentor with the Bar Mentoring Service. Thereare schemes for Silk and Judicial appointments and for students on social mobility programmes. Find out more and how to get involved as a mentor @ http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/supporting-the-bar/bar-mentoring-service/

Host students on the Bar Council's award winning Bar Placement Week Scheme (mini pupillages for those from non-traditional backgrounds) in Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester and London; or speak at Career Days, in schools and attend Law Fairs to promote careers at the Bar. Sign up by emailing schoolsoutreach@barcouncil.org.uk

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. 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