On Wednesday 13 September 2023 Nick Vineall KC, Chair of the Bar, set out a view of the future of the Bar -  followed by a conversation chaired by Fiona Rutherford, Chief Executive of JUSTICE.


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13 September 2023, 18:00 - 20:00
Event Type
In-person, London

About this event

Today there are over 70,000 barristers called to the Bar of England and Wales, but only 17,000 practise in England and Wales and pay the practising certificate fee. The 17,000 pay for the regulation of everyone, and the title ‘barrister’ is given to people who, in fact, have no right to act as barristers.

Does that make sense? Can we do anything about it?  How is the public interest best served? 

In thought-provoking evening, Chair of the Bar Nick Vineall KC set out what he thinks the Bar of 2043 might look like, and explored some of the challenges and opportunities ahead, in conversation with barrister and Chief Executive of JUSTICE Fiona Rutherford.  

In a wide-ranging speech, Nick covered:

  • what can be done to make the Bar a true meritocracy - not only at entry, but throughout barrister careers?
  • how can we stop talented young people being put off the Bar, by the combination of expense and the less than 50/50 chance of getting pupillage?
  • future disruptors, including artificial intelligence (AI), and new third-party funding models that could change the existing chambers model


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Nick Vineall KC, Chair of the Bar

Nick Vineall KC practises from 4 Pump Court in commercial, construction and financial services law, in both litigation and in international arbitration.

Until taking up his post as Chair of the Bar Nick was Joint Head of Chambers at 4 Pump Court and sat as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Kings Bench Division including the TCC and Commercial Court.

He chaired the Bar Council Education & Training Committee until 2021 and chaired the Regulatory Review Working Group in 2022.

Nick is a Bencher of Middle Temple. In 1994 he was Chair of the Young Bar.


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Fiona Rutherford, Chief Executive, JUSTICE

Fiona Rutherford joined JUSTICE as Chief Executive in February 2022.

Prior to JUSTICE, Fiona was the Director of Access to Justice Policy, Ministry of Justice, a position she held from July 2019. Her previously held positions include: Deputy Director for Legal Aid Policy, MoJ, Deputy Director for Business Strategy and Design, HMCTS, and senior leadership roles within the Crown Prosecution Service.

Fiona worked as a specialist criminal barrister in the Chambers of Andrew Trollope KC and Richard Christie KC (187 Chambers). She has an LLB (Hons) in European Languages and a Diploma in Law from the Inns of Court School of Law.

Fiona was the MoJ representative at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), and represented the UK government at the UN for the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in Feb 2019.

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Watch the full speech