10 of the things the Bar Council did in March

1 April 2018

  1. Chair of the Bar Andrew Walker QC warned that the Data Protection Bill would give the Information Commissioner's Office sweeping powers to access legally privileged material ahead of the Second Reading of the Bill in the House of Commons. 

  2. Responding to news that the Government's review of LASPO+ will be delayed until the end of the year, Chair of the Bar Andrew Walker QC said it is frustrating that the review is moving at such a "glacial pace". 

  3. The Bar Council launched a campaign for International Women's Day 2018 on 8 March, asking leaders on its committees to highlight via Twitter what they thought would most improve progress for women across the Bar. 

  4. The Bar Council renewed a special deal for barristers seeking nursery childcare in London by agreeing a new partnership with independently run Smithfield House Nursery in Smithfield to all children between eight weeks and five years of age, irrespective of whether their parents are barristers. Practising barristers will continue to get a 10 per cent discount fees, as well as a discount on ad hoc sessions under the deal.   

  5. Amid reports of judicial bullying of barristers, Andrew Walker QC, Chair of the Bar, issued a strong statement condemning such bullying. He said: "As the representative body for all barristers in England and Wales, we strongly condemn any bullying or inappropriate treatment of our members by judges, or by any other legal professionals they encounter. We know it can happen, and we have resources available to support barristers on our Wellbeing at the Bar website, and we can give advice and guidance via our confidential helplines." 

  6. Wilmslow High School in Cheshire won the 27th annual Bar Council-backed Bar Mock Trials National Competition final in Cardiff Crown Court on 24 March. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC, and Bar Council Chief Executive, Malcolm Cree, attended the finals. 

  7. "We stand by the criminal Bar" was the basis of the statement issued by Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC, and Vice Chair of the Bar, Richard Atkins QC, following the Criminal Bar Association's decision to back direct action from the criminal Bar. The Bar Council leaders said: "As Chair and Vice-Chair of the Bar Council, we stand by the Criminal Bar Association and the Criminal Bar in striving for the proper funding of the criminal justice system, as we stand by all others who strive for the proper funding of other parts of our system of justice." 

  8. A Special Edition of BarTalk, the Bar Council's fortnightly e-newsletter, with a focus on human rights and the rule of law was published, prompting one of the highest readership rates of BarTalk since it launched in 2015. 

  9. New statistics revealed that the Bar Council's Ethics & Practice website was visited more than 18,000 times in March by barristers and chambers seeking guidance on a range of practice and ethical issues. Amongst the most popular pages were: Money Laundering & Terrorist Finance, General Data Protection Regulation Guide and Conducting litigation. 

  10. Both Andrew Walker QC, the Chair of the Bar, and Robin Allen QC, the Chair of the Bar Council's Equality and Diversity and Social Mobility Committee emphasised, in a blog, the need for chambers and barristers to be serious about equal opportunity when recruiting pupils.