What we do
The Bar Council represents more than 17,000 practising barristers in England and Wales. We promote 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 Bar Council is the Approved Regulator for the Bar of England and Wales. However, we discharge our regulatory functions through the operationally independent Bar Standards Board (BSB).
How our work is funded
When barristers go through the annual Authorisation to Practise process, 71% of the Practising Certificate Fees goes to the regulators (Bar Standards Board, Legal Services Board and Legal Ombudsman).
Just 29% goes to the Bar Council, and that covers only 65% of the income we need to effectively support the Bar.
The remaining funds are generated by our services, training and events portfolios, generous contributions from the Inns of Court and, importantly, the BRF.
All of the income to the Bar Council is invested in services and support for barristers.
How much is the Bar Representation Fee?
The minimum voluntary contribution is £160 a year (or under £13.50 per month via Direct Debit). Barristers who wish to contribute more are welcome to do so. Last year hundreds of barristers chose to contribute above the suggested amount. All of the income to the Bar Council is invested in services and support for barristers.
What does the Bar Representation Fee fund?
The legal framework means that not all aspects of the Bar Council’s representative and campaigning work can be funded through the Practising Certificate Fee, much of our work would not be possible without the vital contribution of the BRF. Find out more about some of our work that is funded or partly funded by the BRF:
Our ethical enquiries helpline is our most-used service. We also have resources available via our Ethics and Practice hub, which contains guidance documents and template policies covering all areas of practice management.
The Direct Access Portal receives thousands of enquiries each month. Barristers registered to our Direct Access Portal can receive direct instructions from individuals and organisations. Available exclusively to BRF subscribers.
Barristers, clerks and chambers' staff are exposed to challenging environments on a daily basis. We provide information and training to barristers and chambers professionals to equip them with the support they need in order to stay well.
We’re taking steps to tackle bullying and harassment at the Bar. We provide support through our resources, and help by recording and reporting incidents through services such as Talk to Spot.
We provide written responses to public consultations, evidence and briefings for parliamentary inquiries; meet with MPs and Peers from all parties and civil servants in key departments; and amplify the collective voice of the entire profession.
Our range of mentoring services, helping barristers throughout their careers from pupillage advice through to maternity and parental support and securing Silk and judicial appointments.
Benefits as a Bar Representation Fee subscriber
In recognition of your support, subscribing to the BRF gives you a range of benefits to take advantage of throughout the year, including:
- A 20% discount on all Bar Council training courses and events
- A monthly subscription to Counsel magazine (standard price £134)
- The facility to request the free appointment of an arbitrator, mediator or expert by the Chair of the Bar (standard price £500)
- Access to our member benefits portal offering substantial discounts on a wide range of retailers such as Apple, John Lewis, Expedia and many more
- A listing on the Direct Access Portal, the online platform where individuals, businesses and other organisations can source a direct access barrister
You can subscribe to the BRF via MyBar at any time. In MyBar go to the left-hand navigation, click on 'My Bar Council', then select 'Sign up to the Bar Representation Fee' and follow the steps.