10 of the things the Bar Council did in January 2018

13 February 2018

  1. Andrew Walker QC became Chair of the Bar, taking over from outgoing Chair, Andrew Langdon QC, to lead the Bar Council, the representative body for barristers in England & Wales. Richard Atkins QC, of St Philips Chambers, Birmingham, has become Vice Chair of the Bar for 2018.  

  2. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC commented on the appointment of The Rt Hon David Gauke MP as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, by pointing to the "significant cutbacks in the provision of legal aid over several years" and urging for the reputation of UK legal services to be defended. 

  3. A Government consultation, Fit for the future: transforming the Court and Tribunal Estate, which included plans to shut down eight courts across England prompted the Bar Council to warn that the plans would "inevitably will give rise to concerns about how much harder it may become, particularly for vulnerable people, to access their local court."  

  4. Hard international law is needed to protect lawyers who have been subject to threats and attacks, often carried out by state agencies and individuals, including assault, harassment, imprisonment, surveillance, enforced disappearance, and even murder, the Bar Council said, ahead of a crucial vote in Strasbourg where UK members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted on a motion to draft a European Convention on the profession of lawyer. 

  5. On the 8th international Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the Bar Council and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) together with lawyers' organisations in Europe and around the world, stood in solidarity with those lawyers in Egypt who face persecution in furtherance of the protection of the rule of law. The Bar Council also highlighted other countries where lawyers were at risk, including China, Turkey and Iran. 

  6. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC, paid tribute to retired Court of Appeal judge, Sir Henry Brooke, for his unique commitment and contribution to justice for all. Sir Henry passed away yesterday, 30 January, aged 81. Andrew Walker QC said: "Sir Henry's was a lifelong commitment to the rule of law and access to justice in our society‚Ķ He will be remembered with fondness across the Bar. Our thoughts are now with his family at such a difficult time." 

  7. The media reported that the Bar Council took a stand over two issues affecting the barristers' profession; pricing and the anti-money laundering regime. The Brief, Legal Futures and The Law Society Gazette reported on the Bar Council's response to a Bar Standards Board (BSB) consultation on barristers publishing prices. Elsewhere, the Law Society Gazette and KYC360 (an AML media outlet) reported that the Bar Council has "poured further scorn on plans to set up new anti-money laundering quango", saying its members could be asked to foot the bill for a body that is irrelevant to most of their practices. 

  8. The Young Barristers' Committee announced a new Primer Series - an innovative three-part series of evening seminars and after-work networking receptions to enable the Young Bar to promote their strengths to entrepreneurs and those in the fields of journalism and international law. 

  9. A new series, Spotlight On, was launched by the Bar Council to highlight the work of each of the Bar Council's  policy teams in turn, to shine a light on the work that each staff member does and how it affects the Bar. In the first of the series, the work of the Bar Council's Equality & Diversity Team was revealed. 

  10. The Bar Council's Pupillage Gateway broke records after opening for applications. A record 99 chambers recruited via the Gateway and there was a four per cent rise in the number of applicants, to 2089 (compared to 2004 in 2017).