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Bar Conference 2024

Our programme features keynote addresses from the Lady Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor, as well as the Chair of the Bar and Chair of the Young Barristers’ Committee.

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Ari Alibhai, QEB Hollis Whiteman

Ari Alibhai specialises in the private prosecution of criminal intellectual property infringement. He acts for multinational corporate clients in music, film, sport and broadcast media, including the Premier League, FACT, Sky and BT Sport (now TNT). He is at the forefront of ground-breaking and precedent setting cases, having undertaken almost 100 private prosecutions over a 20-year period, with an increasing focus on broadcast piracy and illicit streaming.

Ari will be speaking about the reform of private prosecutions in the wake of the Post Office scandal.


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John Battle KC (Hon.), Head of Legal and Compliance for Independent Television News (ITN)

John works as Head of Legal and Compliance for Independent Television News (ITN). He was awarded honorary KC in December 2022. He has led the broadcast industry on the issue of cameras in court over twenty years. There is now filming of sentencing hearings in the Crown Court, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and most Public Inquests. In 2022 he won the Employed Barrister of the Year in Commerce, Finance, or Industry in the Bar Council’s Employed Bar Awards for his work on a Reporters’ Charter which summarises the rights of court reporters and was adopted by the Ministry of Justice and launched at the Society of Editors’ Annual Conference in May 2022.

John will be speaking about ethical dilemmas at the Bar.


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The Rt Hon Sir Robert Buckland KC MP, Conservative MP for South Swindon

Robert is a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmini Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. His work has so far been focused on how the use of AI has and could potentially continue to affect judgment. 

In his first paper, he identified the potential risks widespread adoption of AI poses for the judicial system - bias, undermining of trust etc. Coupled with the challenges it poses for the gathering/scrutinising of evidence and content authentication. 

His second paper will aim to plot a path forward with concrete recommendations for policymakers and the legal profession. This will be driven by analysis of domestic and international comparisons and engagement with practitioners (legal and technological) to ensure the sector can mitigate the risks AI poses and harness the benefits. 

Robert will be speaking about artificial intelligence. 


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The Rt Hon Alex Chalk KC MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Alex Chalk KC MP was appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice on 21 April 2023. He was Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence from October 2022 to April 2023 and was formerly HM Solicitor General for England and Wales and the Prisons and Probation Minister.

Prior to being elected in 2015, Alex was a barrister and prosecuted and defended in cases concerning terrorism, international fraud, and homicide.

As Justice Minister, Alex led the Domestic Abuse Bill through the Commons. As HM Solicitor General, Alex oversaw the work of the Law Officers’ Departments which includes the Crown Prosecution Service and Serious Fraud Office.

The Lord Chancellor will be providing a keynote address.


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Grace Cheng, 39 Essex Chambers

Grace Cheng is an English barrister and qualified solicitor in Hong Kong. She has rights of audience before the AIFC Court (Kazakhstan) and DIFC Courts (Dubai) and has been granted full registration as a registered foreign lawyer at the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC).

Grace is a versatile advocate, specialising in commercial litigation and arbitration, and with experience in many different areas of the law. She has been included on the Legal Services Panel for the Government of the Virgin Islands. In addition to her practice as counsel, Grace is a sought-after arbitrator and adjudicator.

Grace will be speaking about alternative dispute resolution.


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Lady Chief Justice Carr

The Rt Hon. the Baroness Carr of Walton-on-the-Hill became Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales on 1 October 2023.

As Lady Chief Justice, she is the first female President of the Courts of England and Wales and Head of the Judiciary of England and Wales. Her judicial career began in 2009 in crime. She was appointed to the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division in 2013, and became the second female High Court Judge to sit in the Commercial Court and the first female High Court Judge to sit in the Technology and Construction Court in 2014.

She was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2020. She was appointed as the Senior Judicial Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission shortly thereafter, remaining in that role until January 2023. She was a temporary Investigatory Powers Commissioner during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lady Chief Justice will be delivering a keynote address.


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Adrian Darbishire KC, Joint Head of Chambers at QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers

Adrian Darbishire KC is a highly regarded criminal practitioner, specialising in financial crime and health and safety/involuntary manslaughter allegations.  He has acted in many private prosecutions and was a Managing Editor of the 2022 PPA Code. 

His reported cases include Kay (candour and setting aside summons); Haigh (costs against prosecutor); Boris Johnson (test on grant/set aside) and most recently Morjaria (candour, set aside and abuse).

Adrian will be speaking about the reform of private prosecutions in the wake of the Post Office scandal.



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Andrew Day, St Ives Chambers

Andrew is a Birmingham-based family practitioner, with 20 years’ experience as a specialist in complex financial remedy work and a particular interest in non-court dispute resolution. 

He sits as an arbitrator under the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators’ financial scheme and is regularly instructed as a neutral evaluator for the purposes of private financial dispute resolution appointments.  He recently began training as a mediator under the Family Mediation Council scheme. 

He sits as a Recorder in the Family Court and the Financial Remedies Court.

Andrew will be speaking about alternative dispute resolution.



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Amrit Kaur Dhanoa, Chair of the Young Bar

Amrit became Chair of the Young Bar because she wanted to play a greater role in ensuring young barristers’ voices are heard on a range of issues, that their concerns brought to the fore and that they feel confident that the YBC represents their needs and interests.

The early years of practice for a junior barrister can be filled with opportunities, but challenges too. Amrit therefore feels it is essential that the YBC remains a vital voice for the Young Bar as they navigate those crucial early years and look forward to building successful practices.

Amrit will be giving a speech and chairing the session with the Lady Chief Justice.


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James Hines KC, Co-Chair of the Bar Council’s Ethics Committee

James Hines KC is Co-Chair of the Bar Council’s Ethics Committee. He practises in crime, commercial fraud and extradition at Three Raymond Buildings, Gray’s Inn.

James will be talking about Navigating ethical dilemmas at the Bar.


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Spenser Hilliard, Field Court Chambers

Spenser is a very experienced barrister and commercial mediator who has taught mediation skills extensively both nationally and internationally.  

He chairs the Bar Council ADR Panel and is a member of the Judicial ADR Liaison Committee. 

He is currently focused on ensuring that the Bar maximises the opportunities presented by the recent case of Churchill v Merthyr Tydfil

Spenser will be chairing the session Futureproofing your practice through alternative dispute resolution.


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Michel Kallipetis KC, Quadrant Chambers

Michel Kallipetis KC has 40 years’ experience as a practising barrister in the field of general commercial, professional negligence and employment work, and some 15 years’ sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge sitting in Queen’s Bench, Chancery and the TC. 

After leaving Littleton Chambers, of which he had been Head, he founded Independent Mediators Ltd to practice as a full-time mediator. He is recognised in The Legal Directories as an expert in his field in mediation in the UK and internationally.

Michel will be speaking about alternative dispute resolution.


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Judge Joanna Korner CMG KC, International Criminal Court (England and Wales representative)

Judge Joanna Korner CMG KC has practised criminal law for more than ten years as a judge and 45 years as a barrister. Prior to joining the ICC, she has served since 2012 as a judge of the Crown Court of England and Wales, trying the most serious and complex criminal cases including cases of fraud and murder. King's Counsel since 1993, she has also prosecuted and defended in numerous cases in the courts of England and Wales.

Her experience includes a total of eight years (1999-2004 and 2009-2012) as a senior prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

As a renowned expert, Judge Korner has organised and taught on numerous training programmes on international criminal law and advocacy for judges and lawyers from different regions. Between 2004 and 2005, she was Senior Legal Adviser to the Chief Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the establishment of a War Crimes Section in the country's State Prosecutor's Office.

In 2004 she was Appointed Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) for services to international law.

Judge Korner will be speaking about the future of international courts.


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Rachel Krys, Equality & Diversity Consultant, Bar Council

Rachel has been a consultant to the Bar Council Equality Diversity and Inclusion team since 2019 supporting projects to improve the retention and progression of women and under-represented groups at the Bar. Rachel delivers equality, fair recruitment, mentoring and harassment training for the Bar Council and bespoke consultancy for chambers.

Rachel has been an equality and human rights campaigner for more than two decades and has worked with large and small employers to tackle discrimination, analyse and improve equality outcomes and promote inclusion.

Rachel will be speaking about earnings and work allocation.


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Shobana Iyer, Swan Chambers

Shobana is a barrister in commercial and corporate practice, and a vice-chair of the Legal Services Committee of the Bar Council and its IT, ADR, and Direct Access Panels. She also sits as an arbitrator or adjudicator and is approved by the European Commission as a chairperson for arbitrations. Shobana specialises in complex commercial cases, frequently involving corporate, intellectual property, technology and information issues as well as private international law. She has experience in a wide variety of industry sectors including renewable energy, financial, insurance, retail, international trade, sports, creative (art/fashion/film), technology, media and telecommunications.

Committed to ethical innovation, Shobana is a recognised thought-leader and adviser on addressing the legal issues and regulation of emerging technologies (from AI, smart contracts and blockchain to cryptoassets, DAOs and Web3.0), as well as resolving and mitigating disputes in the field.

Shobana will be speaking about Artificial Intelligence and its place in the justice system.


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Fenner Moeran KC, Co-Chair of the Bar Council’s Ethics Committee 

Fenner Moeran KC was called in 1996 and took silk in 2014. He has a commercial chancery practice, with an emphasis on litigation involving breaches of fiduciary duty, and technical pensions and financial services matters. He is Co-Chair of the Bar Council’s Ethics Committee, having joined its predecessor (when it was known as the Professional Conduct Committee) in 2002. In this role he has specialisations in civil (non-family) matters, and issues relating to privilege and conflicts of interest.

Fenner will be chairing the session 'Navigating ethical dilemmas at the Bar' .


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The Rt. Hon. Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, One Essex Court

Lord Neuberger graduated with a degree in natural science from Oxford and worked at a merchant bank until he entered Lincoln's Inn and was called to the English Bar in 1974. He specialised in property law, and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1987 and became a Bencher of Lincoln's Inn in 1993. 

From 1996 to 2004, he served as a Judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court. He was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2004 and a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 2007. He became Master of the Rolls in 2009, and in 2012 he was appointed President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He retired from that post in September 2017. 

He has since been practising as an arbitrator, mediator and legal expert from One Essex Court. He became a Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal in 2009 and a Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court in 2018, and continues to sit in both courts. 

Lord Neuberger was Treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn in 2017, and was elected an honorary Fellow of the Royal Society the same year. He is an honorary Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He was appointed Chancellor of the University of Law in 2018. He has received honorary doctorates from UCL, Queen Mary London, York, Exeter, and Oxford. He is President of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, and of the Academy of Experts. He is also a trustee of Prisoners Abroad, and of Mental Health Research UK and, a Patron of Sapere.

Lord Neuberger will be speaking about the future of international courts.


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David O’Mahony, 7BR

A Barrister at 7 Bedford Row, specialising in financial and crime and related civil proceedings offshore, David is currently studying for an external MSt in AI Ethics and Society at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at Cambridge University.

David will be chairing Artificial Intelligence and its place in the justice system.


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Flora Page, 23ES Chambers

Flora is a barrister at 23ES Chambers, currently acting for 16 subpostmasters in the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry, having previously represented 3 in the R v Hamilton appeals. She serves on the LSB, and is a PhD Candidate at UCL. 

Flora will be speaking about the reform of private prosecutions in the wake of the Post Office scandal.


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Andrew Parsons, FCIArb

Andrew is a specialist barrister, mediator and arbitrator with a commercial background and over 30 years of experience in work concerning business, commerce, finance and property. He is a former money and corporate finance broker in the City of London.

In 1998, he was one of the first English barristers to become an accredited commercial mediator. Since then he has conducted or acted as specialist advocate in thousands of mediations in the UK and internationally.

Since 2008, he has been a member of the Bar Council ADR Panel.

Andrew will be speaking about alternative dispute resolution.


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Dr Paul Redmond, Director of Student Experience and Enhancement

Dr Paul Redmond is one of the UK’s leading experts on generational change and the future of work. He helps organisations and professionals worldwide acquire the skills and knowledge to thrive in today’s multi-generational workplace. 

Currently at the University of Liverpool, Paul has held visiting lectureships at various leading universities and has been responsible for guiding the careers of thousands of students and graduates. Paul’s research includes into ‘Generation Z,’ the post-Covid world of work, and the rise of ‘Zombie Jobs’ – the theme of his recent TED talk.

Paul is the author of numerous books, reports and studies, including the best-selling ‘The Graduate Jobs Formula,’ and the highly popular diary column for the UK’s Institute of Student Employers’ magazine. In recognition of his writing and research, he was awarded a Fellowship of the British Royal Society of Arts.

Paul will be speaking about navigating intergenerational differences.


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Hannah Smith, General Pharmaceutical Council

Hannah works as a Principal Lawyer at the General Pharmaceutical Council. Previously Hannah worked the Nursing and Midwifery Council, having initially qualified and practised in crime. Hannah joined the Bar Council in 2022 and sits on the Employed Barristers and Ethics Committees. 

Hannah will be talking about ethical dilemmas at the Bar.


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Polly Sprenger, Addleshaw Goddard

Polly Sprenger is a Partner in the Global Investigations Group at Addleshaw Goddard. She specialises in corporate crime, guiding clients through investigations and subsequent remedial litigation. Her practice is cross-border and cross-discipline: she has recent experience of bringing and defending high-profile, high-value matters in both the civil and criminal courts.

Polly was junior counsel in the high profile prosecution of News of the World journalists in 2014, and served as technical advisor to a Parliamentary inquiry into private investigators and phone hacking in 2012. Polly previously served as Head of Strategic Intelligence at the UK Serious Fraud Office and worked for several years as a corporate investigator and investigative journalist.

Polly is the author of Deferred Prosecution Agreements: the Law and Practice of Negotiated Corporate Criminal Penalties (Sweet and Maxwell, 2014) and a co-author of Arlidge & Parry on Fraud (4th and 5th editions). She was the Managing Editor of the Code for Private Prosecutors, the industry- and peer-reviewed code of conduct published by the Private Prosecutors' Association.

Polly will be speaking about the reform of private prosecutions in the wake of the Post Office scandal.


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Chris Stephen, Journalist and War Reporter

Chris Stephen has reported from nine wars for publications including The Guardian and The New York Times magazine. He writes on war crimes developments for journals including the International Institute for Strategic Studies and he is the author of Judgement Day: The Trial of Slobodan Milošević, published by Atlantic Books and most recently The Future of War Crimes Justice published by Melville House UK.

Chris will be speaking about the future of international courts.


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Sam Townend KC, Chair of the Bar 2024

Sam is a silk at Keating Chambers and practises in domestic and international construction, energy and professional negligence work. He is also a mediator and adjudicator, and a Bencher at Lincoln's Inn. 

Sam was the co-chair of the Bar Council Legal Services Committee in 2022 and has chaired the Bar’s Regulatory Review Working Group. He is a former member of the Young Barristers’ Committee and Treasurer of the Free Representation Unit.

Sam will be giving the welcome address.



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Bar Conference 2024

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