10 of the things the Bar Council did in November

1 December 2017

  1. More than 500 guests and speakers gathered in central London for the Annual Bar & Young Bar Conference, including Sir Keir Starmer QC MP, Lady Justice Hallet, and terror-law watchdog Max Hill QC. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC opened proceedings with his keynote speech. 

  2. new website   devoted entirely to helping barristers with ethical and practice queries has been launched by the Bar Council to support its members. The new online tool, the Ethics & Practice Hub, which can be used on a mobile phone or tablet, provides guidance on ethical issues faced by barristers in meeting their regulatory obligations as set out in the Bar Standards Board's Handbook. 

  3. The Bar Council responded to the decision by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to not continue QASA, Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, said: "The birth of the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) was not celebrated by many and its death will be mourned by fewer. I welcome the  Bar Standards Board's (BSB) decision, which is plainly sensible.  

  4. National Pro Bono Week took place in November with the backing of the Bar Council and other legal bodies. 

  5. A report, commissioned by the Bar Council,  'Injustice in Immigration Detention', highlighted that migrants were being held in detention for too long with inadequate access to the courts or to legal help are among a catalogue of problems. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, said of the report: "It is right that Government should set immigration and removal targets according to the mandate for which it was elected, but given that the liberty of the individual is at stake, proper scrutiny is essential." 

  6. The Bar Council presented Wellbeing at the Bar Certificates of Recognition to more than 30 chambers. Following the success of a Certificate of Recognition for good wellbeing practice, the Bar Council announced that it will reopen Certificate applications to enable chambers, Inns, Circuits, Specialist Bar Associations and organisations that employ barristers to apply on an ongoing basis, with applications assessed each quarter. 

  7. Changes to shared parental leave policy guidelines by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) were welcomed by Sam Mercer, Bar Council Head of Policy for Equality and Diversity. She  said: "It should be the norm for professional fathers to take parental leave to care for their children rather than the exception, but to get there we need changes in culture and policy.  

  8. The Bar Council's call for a professional indemnity insurance (PII) extension to cover the employed Bar was approved by Bar Mutual. Under the rule change, approved at the Bar Mutual Annual General Meeting, employed barristers will now be covered by PII to carry out pro bono work via the Bar Pro Bono Unit or the Free Representation Unit. 

  9. Tanya Murshed of 1MCB Chambers has won this year's Sydney Elland Goldsmith Bar Pro Bono Award at the Annual Bar & Young Bar Conference for her outstanding commitment to assisting vulnerable individuals convicted of capital offences in Uganda over four and a half years on a pro bono basis. 

  10. The Bar Council presented its Legal Reporting Award to Times journalist Melanie Phillips and the BBC's Zoe Conway. Melanie Phillips won the Print & Online category for her piece on Charlie Gard and the American right, while Zoe Conway won the Broadcast category for her programme on the limbo experienced by prisoners subject to Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences.