Bar Council Annual Report 2016-17

Aim 2: Support the profession

Securing and promoting the work of the Bar and its role in society

Aim 2: Support the profession


The Bar Council has continued to provide leadership to equip the whole Bar to meet current and future challenges, and to help barristers to maintain and enhance the quality of their work, adapt to changing circumstances and operate more efficiently and effectively.

This work ranges from practical assistance such as supporting barristers with childcare responsibilities to managing the Direct Access Portal for members who take direct instructions. It also includes work to ensure the profession is accessible to as diverse a range of applicants as possible.

Click on the links below for more information about the Bar Council's work to support the profession.

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Ethical Enquiries Service

In 2016-17, the Bar Council Ethical Enquiries Service responded to around 6,000 telephone enquiries and over 550 emails from barristers who needed help to identify, interpret and comply with their professional obligations in the Bar Standards Board (BSB) Handbook.

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Training and events 


The training programme developed by the Bar Council Training and Events team is designed to support the Bar in developing new ways of working to enhance individual barristers’ practices.

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In October 2016, the Bar Council launched the Wellbeing at the Bar Portal, a website to provide support and best practice to barristers, clerks and chambers on wellbeing and mental health issues. 

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Young Bar Hub

The Young Barristers’ Committee (YBC) comprises elected members of the Bar Council (employed and self-employed barristers) of up to seven years in practice. The YBC currently has over 20 members, specialising in civil, criminal and regulatory work, from both within and outside London.

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Employed Bar

In 2016, the Bar Council undertook research to gather first-hand evidence of the experiences and challenges of being an employed barrister.

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Annual conference

Combining both the Young Bar and the Bar conferences in a single day, this event is the platform that brings together all members of the Bar community to learn, network and share ideas in order to ensure continued development and success at the Bar. 

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Direct Access Portal

The Direct Access Portal (DAP) was launched in October 2015. Free for consumers, it puts them directly in touch with a barrister, mediator or arbitrator. The Bar Council has encouraged barristers to sign up to the portal and has developed relationships with third parties.

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BARCO is the Bar Council’s third party escrow account that provides barristers and their clients, as well as solicitors, with a secure, regulator-approved method of making payments and transferring funds. Equally important is the protection it affords to the consumer.

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Debt recovery

In February 2017, the Bar Council launched a debt recovery panel to help barristers with payments owed to them by professional clients. Two law firms that specialise in this area were initially appointed to the new panel, with more expected to sign up.

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Circuit visits

The Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, undertook an extensive programme of visits to the Circuits after he took office in January 2017. By the end of March 2017, he had visited chambers in Cardiff, Swansea, Manchester, Liverpool, Plymouth, Exeter, St Albans, Nottingham, Birmingham, Hull, Sheffield, York, and Leeds.

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Bar nursery

The Bar Council has set up two Bar Nurseries, both open from 7am to 7pm five days a week, offering flexible childcare facilities for children aged eight weeks to five years with special rates available for all members of the Bar, as well as chambers staff and Bar Council employees.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

In 2016-17, the Bar Council Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Panel hosted a series of seminars including ‘Documents in Mediation’ and ‘Advocacy in Mediation’, designed to equip the profession with the skills necessary to advocate and represent parties in a mediation.

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Alternative Business Structures

The Bar Standards Board has been regulating licensed bodies, also known as Alternative Business Structures (ABSs), since April 2017. An ABS is an entity that is owned and managed jointly by authorised and non-authorised persons (lawyers and non-lawyers).

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Bar Representation Fee

For work that cannot be funded by the Practising Certificate Fee (PCF), the Bar Council continues to seek a voluntary contribution from barristers, known as the Bar Representation Fee (BRF).

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Pupillage Fair

This year’s Bar Council Pupillage Fair attracted over 50 exhibitors, including Specialist Bar Associations (SBAs), universities and chambers, and was attended by over 600 students.

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Pupillage Gateway

The Pupillage Gateway is the online application system for pupillage, operated by the Bar Council. All pupillage vacancies are advertised on the Pupillage Gateway, which provides students and chambers with a fair application platform and transparent structure for making and accepting offers of pupillage.

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