Employed barristers* will now be allowed to carry out pro bono work as the Bar Council's call for professional indemnity insurance (PII) extension to cover the employed Bar has been approved by Bar Mutual. 

Under the rule change, approved at the Bar Mutual Annual General Meeting, employed barristers will now be covered by PII to carry out pro bono work via the Bar Pro Bono Unit or the Free Representation Unit. Previously, employed barristers were prevented from taking up pro bono work because of the short fall in their insurance. 

Earlier this year, Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, called for employed barristers to get the PII extension. 

He said of the decision to go ahead with the proposals: "The fact is many barristers, employed or self-employed, want to do pro bono work of some kind. They should not be prevented from doing so by their insurance policies. 

"By making this small change, Bar Mutual have not only freed up many barristers who were previously restricted from committing to providing free legal services via the Bar Pro Bono Unit and FRU, it has also given those people, often in dire straits, who cannot afford a lawyer a potentially wider pool of barristers who may be able to help them. Following a successful National Pro Bono Week, it is a timely boost for the pro bono legal community and I hope the employed Bar will embrace it wholeheartedly." 

Lucinda Orr, Chair of the Employed Barristers' Committee said: 

"Pro bono has a vital role to play in assisting members of the public who cannot afford or access the legal advice they often desperately need - the employed bar has many talented lawyers whose skills can now be deployed to help such people, and I am thrilled that the employed bar will now be able to contribute in this critical area." 

If you are an employed barrister who would like to find out more about how you can undertake pro bono work via Bar Pro Bono Unit: enquiries@barprobono.org.uk or FRU  www.thefru.org.uk/volunteers/the-route-to-ratification

*Employed barristers in 'recognised bodies' are already able to volunteer through the Bar Pro Bono Unit. 


Notes to editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

  2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board

About Bar Mutual

Bar Mutual provides professional indemnity insurance to self-employed barristers in England & Wales. All self-employed barristers are required by the Bar Standards Board to take out professional indemnity insurance with Bar Mutual. Bar Mutual provides comprehensive professional indemnity insurance cover and an excellent claims handling service. Bar Mutual is a not for profit company. It is owned and controlled by its Members whose collective interests are paramount.