10 of the things the Bar Council did in August

1 September 2017

  1. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, published his reply to Fulford LJ's letter which had attempted to diffuse concerns by the Bar in relation to plans for a Flexible Operating Hours courts pilot. The Chair of the Bar set out the profession's concerns with the plans, including the impact the pilot would have on barristers with care responsibilities. Read Andrew Langdon QC's letter to Fulford LJ here

  2. The Bar Council announced plans to launch a new programme to support the Bar in readiness for the arrival of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) next year. To support barristers and chambers in preparing for compliance with their new data protection obligations, the Bar Council, in partnership with the Legal Practice Management Association (LPMA) and the Institute of Barristers' Clerks (IBC), has invited bids from potential contractors for two new initiatives.  

  3. The Imperial War Museum was announced as the next venue for the 2018 Bar Council Employed Bar Awards, which will take place on 29 June 2018. This will be the second Employed Bar Awards, following the sell-out success of this year's ceremony and dinner at the Tower of London. 

  4. A joint letter signed by the Bar Human Rights Committee and the Bar Council was dispatched to the President of Zimbabwe calling for him to veto a Bill proposing changes to judicial appointments that would threaten the independence of the judiciary and undermine the rule of law in Zimbabwe. 

  5. New statistics published by the Bar Council showed that the public were increasingly turning to the direct access Bar for help with their legal problems. Data from the Bar Council-backed Direct Access Portal, which is an online directory for the public to find direct access barristers, showed that from 1 July 2016 to 1 July 2017 almost 150,000 searches for a barrister had been made by the public on the portal. The figures also revealed the most popular areas of law which the public were searching for. 

  6. The Bar Council responded to the government's position paper Providing a cross-border civil judicial cooperation framework. A Future Partnership Paper, pointing to "sensible and sound proposals and shows that the government has been in listening mode when talking to the Bar Council and others on this crucial topic." However, Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC warned that " the devil will be in the detail." 

  7. In his monthly Counsel magazine column, Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, took issue with the "officious and objectionable Ministry speak betrays an unacceptable misunderstanding of the purpose of administration of justice and should be resisted." His comments in the article were subsequently picked up by The Times, The Daily Telegraph and Press Association. 

  8. The Bar Council responded to four major consultations in August, including one on HM Treasury's anti-money laundering supervisory review and the Future of Work Commission's Call for Evidence. So far in 2017, the Bar Council has responded to 31 consultations. 

  9. Hugh Mercer QC, Chair of the Bar Council Brexit Working Group, wrote in The Barrister magazine on the group's work, its purpose and publication of its Brexit Papers. 

  10. Malcolm Cree took over from Stephen Crowne as Chief Executive of the Bar Council and Dr Isabel DiVanna joined the Bar Council as Commercial Director at a time when the Bar Council is reviewing its strategy for the next five years.