The Bar Council recognises the scientific consensus that limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius is fundamental to preventing the very worst effects of climate change. We also recognise the likelihood that the developing crisis will bring increased global inequality and in turn an increased risk of conflict and global disruption, affecting access to justice and the rule of law.
The Bar Council believes, for these reasons and as a matter of fundamental social responsibility, that the profession has a duty to join the global effort to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and recognises its central role in supporting its members in doing so.
What the Bar Council is doing
The Bar Sustainability Network
The Bar Council launched the Network in 2021 to provide a range of services and support for chambers, Inns and others to help the transition to a more sustainable way of working.
A Net Zero Profession
The Bar Council has resolved to support all barristers’ chambers in achieving Net Zero, with an expectation that all sets with 20 members or more will have done so by 2030 at the latest. The Sustainability Network will be a key mechanism by which to achieve this, and – among other measures – the Climate Crisis Working Group are also exploring a certification scheme for chambers, and credible advice on offsetting.
Assisting barristers with their professional obligations
The Climate Crisis Working Group will also explore how best to support the profession in terms of how the climate crisis might affect its ethical obligations, as well as ensuring that barristers have adequate training on related issues.
Working with other organisations and wider society
English common law and the Bar of England and Wales have always been at the forefront of legal innovation and championing the rule of law, both at home and abroad. To that end, the Climate Crisis Working Group intends to support local and national governmental bodies to translate targets into climate action. Additionally, we hope to foster relationships internationally to take wider action.
Find out more about the Climate Crisis Working Group, which reports to the Pro Bono and Social Responsibility Committee.
Find out more about membership of the Bar Sustainability Network, providing a range of services and support for chambers, Inns and others to help the transition to a more sustainable way of working.