We often hear people ask 'what does the Bar Council do for us?' Well we represent you. We promote and we support you.
"Representing" the Bar includes our work on court reform (including plans for new identity cards for easier court access), on the Advocates' Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS), other aspects of legal aid, our interactions with Westminster and Whitehall and our responses to consultations (sometimes up to 20 a month) to ensure the interests of the Bar are catered for and our strengths protected. It covers our relationships with other bodies, including the Specialist Bar Associations, the Institute of Barristers' Clerks, the Legal Practice Management Association, and the Law Society to name a few.
"Promoting" the Bar includes our work on social mobility and much of the equality and diversity agenda, which help promote the Bar as an attractive career path for aspiring barristers. We also promote Direct Access, international business development. We also promote the rule of law in parts of the world where we think we can share expertise and good practice. We run the Pupillage Fair and the Pupillage Gateway, which are vital initiatives for a Bar that is meritocratic and diverse, and we put on the Annual Bar & Young Bar Conference.
"Supporting" the Bar includes our work on ethics and guidance; wellbeing, and support on equality and diversity issues. We provide training for barristers and chambers on GDPR, public access, soft skills and more. We offer arbitration, mediation and debt recovery for when things go wrong. We also provide Counsel magazine, Xexec and discounts and preferential rates on partners from train-splitting companies to car and health insurers.
To do all of this, we need you to pay the voluntary Bar Representation Fee (BRF). Two-thirds of your Practicing Certificate Fee goes to the Bar Standards Board, who are our regulator. To enable representation, promotion and support, we need to supplement the remaining one-third PCF fees, which the Bar Council receives, with the BRF. Please pay the BRF. Without it, we will struggle to do all we do for you.
If you haven't yet paid the BRF, please follow this link https://www.mybar.org.uk/bar-council/my-membership/pay-for-it.html. As always, do please contact us to share your thoughts about how we are doing, and what more we must do to represent, promote and support you. Contact the Bar Council's Commercial Director Isabel DiVanna.