BACFI celebrates 50th anniversary

3 September 2015

                                    Lucinda Orr BACFI

Lucinda Orr, Chairman of the Bar Association for Commerce, Finance and Industry (BACFI), guest blogs about the association celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Lucinda goes into detail about the history of BACFI, which was created as an association catering for those barristers not in chambers and practising in commerce and industry. 

The Bar Association for Commerce, Finance and Industry (BACFI) is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2015. BACFI's President, Lord Hoffman, is kindly hosting a black tie drinks and three course meal at the House of Lords on Friday, 25 September 2015, for members and their guests. Tickets are still available for the event, which is open to all!

BACFI represents the interests of employed and non practising barristers providing legal services in commerce, finance and industry - the CFI Bar. It also welcomes student members and members of the Inns of Court who are interested in a career outside the traditional confines of Chambers.

The seeds of BACFI's history were sown on the 1July 1964 at the Annual General Meeting of the Bar Council, when David Fletcher Rogers proposed "A Committee be formed to have regard to the position of non-practising barristers".Sir John Hobson, the Attorney General, accepted the resolution and the Bar Council formed what became known as the "Rawden Temple Committee". Anthony Kinch, who was a non-practising barrister and who was in correspondence with the Bar Council and was put on the committee.

Another non-practising barrister, Brian Russell, having heard of the resolution, wrote to David and they met with Anthony and John Jenkins, who worked with Brian. These four agreed to form an association, with John acting as Secretary. The Rawden Temple Committee issued a report in October 1964 favouring a barristers' association catering for those barristers not in Chambers and practising in Commerce and Industry and this was supported by the Bar Council, who offered to assist with the formation.

David's resolution received press coverage and other non-practising barristers contacted the Bar Council who passed the names to Anthony and a working party was formed, consisting of 11 founder members. The working party met regularly and wrote the constitution. One of the greatest discussions was regarding the name of the association. In the spring of 1965, the Bar Council circulated to all non-practising barrister an agenda for a meeting on 28 April 1965.

Around 120 people attended the inaugural meeting on 21June 1965. Brian Russell was elected Chairman, Anthony Kinch as Vice Chairman, John Jenkins as Secretary and David Fletcher Rogers as Treasurer. The remainder of the founders were elected to the committee and joined by three others. The Earl of Kilmuir PC, GCVO became the first president of BACFI

The first committee meeting of BACFI was held on 19 July 1965 and by the end of that year, there were 144 members.

In 2004, BACFI merged with the Employed and non practising Barristers' Association (ENPBA), making it the sole Specialist Bar Association representing barristers who do not practice in the Chambers environment.

In 2000, employed barristers were granted equal practising rights with the self employed and gained 14 elected seats on the Bar Council. BACFI is a recognised Specialist Bar Association and though it remains independent of Bar Council, members of BACFI sit on the Council and many of its Committees. BACFI is also represented on the BSB and contributes on members' behalf to both BSB and Bar Council consultations.

BACFI provides representation, education and support to barristers working in a commercial environment and works to promote the "One Bar" ethos, to ensure that the status and interests of members are fully recognised and taken into account by the Bar Council and the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

BACFI also focuses on professional development and career opportunities for its members and hosts a variety of Continuing Professional Development seminars and social networkingevents throughout the year. In 1975, BACFI inaugurated an annual lecture by an eminent lawyer. The topic is of general interest to the legal profession and indeed the wider business community. From 1981 the annual lecture became known as The Denning Lecture and it has continued in an unbroken sequence every year since its inception. Lord Denning himself delivered the lecture in 1984. In a usual year, the Denning Lecture, followed by the Christmas party is the highlight of BACFI's social year. Even with the House of Lords Dinner, BACFI's Denning Lecture, is as ever, set to be superb, being held at the Inner Temple on Tuesday, 24 November 2015, with Lord Reed of the Supreme Court as the lecturer.

Fifty years after its formation, BACFI continues to flourish with an active calendar of events and membership in excess of 200. As the role of the Bar and employed barrister has continue to develop, BACFI has adapted and been at the vanguard of shaping reform and policy.

If you are interested in contributing to BACFI's work or in standing for election to the Bar Council or appointment to the BSB; or attending the 50th Anniversary Dinner at the House of Lords later this month, or the Denning Lecture in November - please contact BACFI Chairman, Lucinda Orr, on


Lucinda Orr
Chairman, BACFI