10 of the things the Bar Council did in February

1 March 2018

  1. Hugh Mercer QC, Chair of the Bar Council Brexit Working Group, told the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee that the British tax-payer should not be asked to foot the Bill to set up an alternative to the CJEU unless there are tangible benefits to the quality of justice as he warned against "reinventing the wheel". 

  2. To coincide with the annual authorisation to practise process, a new websiteMyBar, was launched jointly by the Bar Council and the regulator (Bar Standards Board) for barristers to renew practising certificates, update their information, pay the Bar Representation Fee and more.  

  3. "We cannot disguise our disappointment," was the Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC's response to the new Advocates' Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS) which was announced this month. 

  4. The Bar Council published its new guide on shared parental leave, which, it is hoped, will help to place barrister parents on a more equal footing and encourage the fair division of caring responsibilities - which, the guide notes, still fall disproportionately on women. The guide came after over a year of lobbying from the Bar Council, resulting in the Bar Standards Board announcing the long-awaited rule change in November 2017. 

  5. The Bar Council's Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group launched new wellbeing podcasts; the latest in a series of online resources aimed at supporting the wellbeing and mental health of barristers, chambers staff and those aspiring to join the profession. The podcasts cover three topics: 'Recovering from Addiction', 'Recovering from Trauma' and 'Overcoming Anxiety' and are available on the Wellbeing at the Bar Hub.   

  6. Bar Placement Week (North), the Bar Council's flagship social mobility initiative, took place in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, backed by the Council of the Inns of Court (COIC). The initiative pairs talented sixth form students, from non-traditional backgrounds for the Bar, with practising barristers. 

  7. The first of the Bar Council Young Barristers' Committee's Primer Series took place. The seminar, Entrepreneurs build businesses, Barristers help protect them, was held in conjunction with the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs  (BAWE) and covered a range of topics, including Brexit, the gig economy, and data issues for businesses. 

  8. A new Spotlight On series was launched by the Bar Council which revealed the work of the organisation's Policy team. Published in BarTalk and on the Bar Council's website, the Spotlight series shows the profession in more detail what work the Bar Council is doing on their behalf. 

  9. Three more chambers and organisations were awarded Wellbeing at the Bar Certificates of Recognition, adding to the 29 awarded in November 2017. Lincoln's Inn, King's Chambers and 8 New Square were all recognised for their commitment to wellbeing initiatives. 

  10. A new, online Bar Directory, Juriosity, was launched in conjunction with Bar Council to replace the old, print edition official directory. The new online platform allows barristers to highlight their work more effectively.