Bar Council launches first ever Bar Nursery

16 April 2013

The Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, has today launched the 'Bar Nursery at Smithfield House', a central London childcare facility in partnership with Smithfield House Children's Nursery.

For the self-employed Bar, the financial costs of having a family can be particularly high, and, as a result, many barristers in the current climate with caring responsibilities are feeling under growing pressure. The Bar Nursery, which will offer flexible childcare facilities near the Inns of Court, offers special rates for all members of the Bar, as well as chambers staff and Bar Council employees.

The nursery is open to children aged eight weeks to five years between 07:00 and 19:00, five days a week. The long opening hours are designed to help those whose practice involves extensive travel to appear in courts all over the country.

Further nurseries may be set up outside London, similarly geared to the working lives of barristers with young children, depending on local demand.

Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar, said:

"The Bar Council is committed to supporting parents and ensuring that the profession retains its best people. Owing to the nature of work at the Bar, many parents find it exceptionally difficult to juggle childcare responsibilities with their ever-changing work schedule, particularly those barristers who regularly appear in court, which can mean travelling to different towns every day.

"It is important that members of the profession are not discouraged from starting a family because of their work, which could have a detrimental effect particularly on the number of women choosing a career at the Bar, and could see talented practitioners leaving the self-employed Bar for a more stable working life in employed practice, or even another profession.

"I have no doubt that the nursery will be exceptionally popular, and hope to announce further Bar Nursery launches in the near future."   


Notes to editors:

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

2. Further information is available .

3. 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.