10 of the things we did in February 2017

6 March 2017

  1. The Bar Council went back to school to explain how, by applying the Rule of Law, the Judiciary can help citizens to hold Government to account and challenge the arbitrary use of power. Joining forces with Citizenship Foundation, the Bar Council reached out to secondary schools in UK to provide them with access to classroom resources which explain the importance of judicial independence in upholding our democratic way of life.

  2. Chairman of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC raised the alarm about politicians bashing judges in the US and UK, in an opinion piece published by Huffington Post.

  3. Restricting the free movement of lawyers post-Brexit would damage Britain's £26bn legal services industry, warned the Chairman of the Bar in evidence to the House of Commons Justice Committee. The Chairman said the issue was important not just for lawyers and highlighted the importance for small businesses and individuals to be able to use British lawyers in courts in the EU.

  4. The Bar Council launched a new debt recovery service, to help barristers obtain money owed to them by professional clients. Two law firms, Thrings and Veale Wasbrough Vizards are the first to join a panel. Media interest in the service came from theGazette, Legal Futures andNew Law Journal.

  5. The Bar Council opened nominations for the first Bar Council Employed Bar Awards. These recognise the vital contribution of barristers working in-house in the public, private and third sectors. The brainchild of the Bar Council's Employed Barristers' Committee, the awards will be announced at a gala dinner to be held at the Tower of London on 30 June 2017.

  6. Chairman of the Bar Council's Legal Services Committee, Derek Sweeting QC highlighted the risks of using McKenzie Friends on BBC's Victoria LIVE programme. This followed a BBC  documentary on the problems of using McKenzie friends instead of properly trained and regulated lawyers.  

  7. Andrew Langdon QC, Chairman of the Bar, responded to the publication of the Prisons and Courts Bill by the Ministry of Justice: "While the Prisons and Courts Bill indicates the Government clearly sees our justice system as a priority, we must ensure proposals in the Bill do not in any way hinder or reduce access to justice for our citizens."

  8. The Bar Council has backed proposals by the Bar Standards Board, to amend rules on shared parental leave, to enable more women to remain in practice at the Bar. The Gazette reported that while the Bar Council acknowledged there could be short-term challenges for chambers and cost implications, implementation of the proposals would place the Bar at the "forefront of advocating full equality for all its members."  

  9. In a hard-hitting Chairman's column in Counselmagazine, Andrew Langdon QC, added weight to a chorus of criticism about the intolerable state of immigration detention: no judicial scrutiny; no time limits; and scant access to justice.

  10. Vice Chairman of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC, has emphasised the importance of high ethical standards at the Bar as part of the profession's responsibility to society in support of the Rule of Law. In an article forCounselmagazine, the Vice Chairman said high ethical standards are integral to what it means to be a professional lawyer. He stressed that they are a crucial part of what society expects of the Bar in return for being allowed to conduct activities that others cannot, particularly exercising rights of audience.