What does the voluntary Bar Representation Fee help us achieve? See a snapshot of our work in our feature "Five things the Bar Council did” and read the top five picks from January from our Head of Services, Carolyn Entwistle.

In January 2020, the Bar Council officially launched its new website, announced the winners of its annual Legal Reporting Awards and published a new wellbeing blogpost from Amanda Bewley. Over and above these activities and successes, here’s a more detailed glimpse at some of the work we have undertaken over the past month.

  1. In conjunction with HM Courts and Tribunals Service, the Bar Council announced the extension of its secure 'professional-user access scheme' ID app to a further twenty courts, including some of those in Bromley, Leicester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool, Brighton, Cambridge, Bristol and Caernarfon.  To find out if your local court or tribunal building is operating under the scheme, you can check the HMCTS GOV.UK website. 
  2. In our response to the Legal Ombudsman’s discussion paper, Transparency and Reporting Impact, the Bar Council argued that it is crucial that the Ombudsman strikes the appropriate balance between the right of barristers to earn a livelihood and the need to protect the public.  We suggested that any new measures, such as the publication of full decisions or more complaints data, must be carefully considered and that the greater the risk to barristers’ livelihoods and wellbeing, the greater the level of certainty and justification that should be required when changing policy in this area.
  3. We held the first ‘judgecraft’ workshop as part of the Judicial Diversity Forum’s new Pre-Application Judicial Education ('PAJE') programme. PAJE has been established to help lawyers develop their understanding of the role and skills required of a judge before they apply and is designed to prioritise participants from underrepresented groups. The Bar Council played a key role developing the original concept and bringing it to fruition and considers PAJE to be a positive step towards a more diverse judiciary.
  4. Alongside other legal sector anti-money laundering (‘AML’) supervisors in the UK, the Bar Council published a joint interim guidance note setting out the key changes brought by the fifth EU Money Laundering Directive and the introduction of the new Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019, which came in to force in early January.
  5. On the 10th annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer, we published a blogpost from International Committee member Patrick Duffy and, together with The Law Society, joined international calls on Pakistan to protect lawyers who are ‘subject to death threats, physical attacks [and] harassment’.

Many of these activities would not have been possible without the funds we’ve received through the voluntary Bar Representation Fee payments made by our members. To pay your Bar Representation Fee, log on to My Bar, email MemberServices@BarCouncil.org.uk or call 020 7611 1329.