Wellbeing at the Bar


Barristers, clerks and chambers' staff are exposed to emotionally and psychologically challenging environments on a daily basis. We aim to tackle the stigma associated with mental health and encourage members of the profession, and those who support us, to better understand wellbeing and feel empowered to make healthy choices.

Wellbeing at the Bar:

  • Provides barristers and chambers' personnel with the information and skills they need in order to stay well;

  • Supports members of the profession through difficulties that affect a barrister's professional life; and

  • Provides assistance to those responsible for or who are supporting those in difficulty or crisis.

Bar Council research into barrister wellbeing (2014) identified risk factors which may impact on a barrister's performance. The Wellbeing at the Bar report is available to view here

The research gave Bar Council a clear mandate to take forward work on this agenda, which is funded by the Bar Representation Fee.

Over 2017/18 the Wellbeing at the Bar programme has:

  1. Launched a new Employee Assistance Programme (more information below or you can visit the Wellbeing at the Bar website).  

  2. Introduced the pilot for Mental Health Training for the Bar. 

  3. Continued with our certificate of recognition efforts

  4. Kept up a steady stream of blogs and stories (lived experience) aimed at normalising wellbeing and encouraging members of the Bar to talk about wellbeing issues.

If you have any questions about the Wellbeing at the Bar programme, please contact the Bar Council's Head of Equality & Diversity & CSR, Sam Mercer SMercer@BarCouncil.org.uk

Bar Council's Wellbeing at the Bar programme is a partnership with the Inns of Court, the Circuits, the Specialist Bar Associations and the Institute of Barristers' Clerks.  

Employee Assistance Programme 

The Bar Council now offers an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), provided by Health Assured, which can be accessed by all self-employed barristers with a practising certificate as well as members of the Institute of Barristers' Clerks (IBC) and Legal Practice Managers' Association (LPMA).

The EAP has been generously funded by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund (BMIF). 

You can access assistance by calling the confidential telephone service to discuss emotional and practical problems. You will also have access to online services, providing information and assistance with common health concerns.

To access the online portal and for more information on the services available under this new EAP, please visit the Wellbeing at the Bar website.

For any queries about the EAP, please contact Sam Mercer SMercer@BarCouncil.org.uk

Wellbeing Certificate of Recognition

The Bar Council has introduced a Certificate of Recognition to recognise efforts made to promote wellbeing across the Bar. Everyone - including chambers, Specialist Bar Associations, Circuits, Inns and organisations that employ barristers - can apply. The Certificate acts as a beacon of good wellbeing practice at the Bar for those who receive it.

To receive a Certificate of Recognition, applicants must have a wellbeing policy or practice in place and be able to demonstrate their commitment to promoting wellbeing. The application should contain evidence of recent initiatives and programmes; these may include (but are not limited to) education and training, mentoring schemes and/or other supportive mechanisms. Applicants should be prepared to share their initiative on the WATB website to assist others seeking to develop ideas and good practice.

Applications should be submitted by email to SMercer@BarCouncil.org.uk. Certificates are awarded quarterly and the next deadline can be found on the Wellbeing at the Bar website.

Please see the guidance document for further information. For the application form, click here.