10 things the Bar Council did in December 2016

9 January 2017

What is it the Bar Council does? Here's a glimpse of just some of the work we have done in December 2016.  

  1. The new Bar Chairman, Andrew Langdon QC, delivered his inaugural speech and presented his focus for 2017: the Young Bar and the needs of 'core' practitioners. 'We are a profession whoseraison d' être is excellence in advocacy', stated the Chairman. And advocacy at its best challenges decision-makers, it challenges authority, in a time when history teaches us of what goes wrong if authority is not challenged. At the same time, the Chairman stressed the need for the profession to press for reforms to make sure the Bar continues to attract the advocates with the greatest potential, regardless of their background, and to ensure that the best advocates in the market are instructed.

  2. The Brexit Working Group published The Brexit Papers to help Government pin point legal concerns from the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Led by Hugh Mercer QC, the group has drawn on the combined expertise and experience of the profession across a wide range of practice areas.

  3. The Bar Council's 'Wellbeing at the Bar' initiative was shortlisted for the 2017 European Association Awards', leadership awards. The 'Wellbeing at the Bar' programme aims to provide barristers and chambers' personnel with the information and skills needed in order to stay well, having as main objective to support the profession through difficulties that affect their professional life.

  4. Coinciding with the senior judiciary review led by Lord Justice Jackson of fixed recoverable costs, the Bar Council has issued an online form for barristers and clerks to complete who undertake this work. The Bar Council is seeking evidence in relation to costs awarded on summary assessment, in detailed assessment and costs allowed in costs budget. The data collected will aid the Bar Council in making a submission to the review.  

  5. The outgoing Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, presented the Bar Council's arguments in defence of an independent judiciary during interviews at various media outlets, including BBC News and Sky News UK. "Our judiciary's independence is admired across the world", reminded Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC.

  6. The Bar Council has called on the Government to propose proper protection for the client's right to legal professional privilege following the European Court of Justice ruling on the legality of the UK's data retention.

  7. The Bar Council announced the Employed Bar Awards Ceremony, an event created in response to the feedback received from the Employed Bar, who wished for a greater recognition of their work. Nominations will open on 31 January 2017. 

  8. Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, responded to TheCityUK report The impact of Brexit on the UK-based legal services sector stating that "TheCityUK's paper highlights, rightly, the value to the economy of the English and Welsh courts and of UK legal services. The legal sector contribution of £25.7bn revenue and £3.3bn of net export revenue must not be put at risk by Brexit".

  9. The Bar Council has welcomed the legal services market study produced by the Competition and Markets Authority. "The Bar Council has always sought to ensure that consumers of legal services, be they individuals, small businesses or others, are supported and protected by high quality regulation", declared the outgoing Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC. "The public interest is well served when such safeguards are in place".

  10. The Bar Council responded to the House of Commons' Justice Committee Inquiry into the implications of Brexit for the justice system and our Brexit Working Group met with senior representatives of various government departments to discuss the legal implications of leaving the EU.