Supporting the Employed Bar
The Bar Council is committed to supporting the whole barristers'
profession, including the employed/in-house Bar.
In 2016, the Bar Council worked on many projects specifically
aimed at supporting employed barristers, and more initiatives are
planned for 2017 and beyond.
Chairman of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, sets out in more detail
below what the Bar Council is doing in the interests of the
Message from the Chairman of the Bar
I am seeking your support of the work of the Bar Council through
your payment of the annual £100 Bar Representation Fee (BRF) this
year. Much of our work is supported by the funds raised through
As I have said publicly, I take the view that
employed barristers are an asset to the Bar. You are prized, among
other things, for the independent advice you give to your employers
and for meeting the challenge of maintaining your professional
independence. The Employed Bar is a vibrant and influential voice,
not just within the profession, but within the Government Legal
Services, the Crown Prosecution Service, law firms, in businesses
across a range of sectors, and right across the NGO and third
I am aware that over the last 18 months, the Bar Council's Employed
Barristers' Committee has made substantial progress in bringing to
the fore issues of concern to the Employed Bar, and we are taking
these issues on board, in part through your valuable feedback
provided through the Employed Bar Survey. We are committed to
ensuring that the contribution the Employed Bar makes to the
profession, and to society, is properly recognised.
As Chairman of the Bar, my aim is to build a personal relationship
between you and the Bar Council, ensuring we do everything that we
can to promote the interests of the profession and its work in the
public interest, and to support individuals as they progress
through their careers. This work is only possible because most
barristers (including a significant proportion of the Employed Bar)
pay the Bar Representation Fee (BRF). If all members stopped paying
the BRF, the Bar Council could not represent you effectively or, in
some cases, at all.
I would just like to remind you that, as was the position last
year, your employer no longer pays the BRF automatically.
As per last year, it is very simple for you to pay this on an
individual basis. Please see the details at the bottom of this
You can see below some key examples of the work carried out by the
Bar Council. I hope that you will want to support the profession by
paying the BRF this year to support all our vital work, helping us
to help you and make a difference in our society.
Last year's BRF payments helped us support the following
This year the Bar Council will be continuing such work and is again
doing everything it can to promote the Bar of England and Wales
here and abroad. Payment of the BRF will make that
A little more about our efforts concerning
A substantial proportion of what we are doing at the moment
necessarily involves advising and lobbying the Government in
relation to consequences of Brexit and the myriad of ways in which
the position of those we serve and our profession itself will be
affected. The recent publication of the Bar Council's Brexit Papers has helped ministers and civil
servants pin point the most pressing legal concerns arising from
the UK's withdrawal from the EU. We have met with senior
representatives of a wide range of government departments to
discuss the issues and implications of Brexit.
And our international effort…
The fact is that a significant proportion of barristers have an
international practice, and that number is continuously increasing.
Strengthening the ties with overseas Bar associations and
international legal bodies though trade missions and exchange
programmes is an essential part of our work in representing and
promoting the profession around the world.
A little more detail about other ways in which we support you
as an individual
Following the Employed Bar survey, the Bar Council is seeking to
change the rules which prevent barristers employed by the
Government Legal Service from applying for a judicial appointment.
Work will continue with the Judicial Appointments Commission and QC
Appointments to allow and encourage applications from the Employed
Bar. The full survey report, including recommendations and actions
the Employed Barristers' Committee will be taking throughout 2017,
Another key issue the Bar Council will address is the need to
promote the valuable work of the Employed Bar. Many employed
barristers said that they feel their work is not adequately
recognised. In light of this, the Bar Council will host the first
Employed Bar Awards Ceremony, to take place on 30 June 2017. For
more information, please visit www.employedbar.com.
The Bar Council, together with the Inns of Court and the Institute
of Barristers' Clerks (IBC) launched a Wellbeing at the Bar Portal in October
2016 to provide support and advice tailored to barristers, clerks
and chambers employees. It is a completely confidential resource
for tips on implementing a wellbeing policy in chambers, to
navigate a wellbeing issue with colleagues or more generally to
learn about common problems faced by other successful barristers.
With over 41,000 hits in the first month it is proving
overwhelmingly popular. But this work is only possible because of
funds raised through BRF payments.
Many employed barristers have also contacted the Bar Council to
express the issues they face in undertaking pro bono work, due to
the difficulties of finding insurance. The Employed Barristers'
Committee is working to address this issue and will report back in
In support of barristers facing ethical challenges, the Ethics
Enquiries Service continues to be highly valued by barristers
seeking assistance in identifying, interpreting and complying with
their professional obligations under the BSB Handbook. In addition
to the Ethics line, which had around 6,000 phone call enquiries and
hundreds of emails in 2016, the Bar Council provides advice to all
barristers, pupils and all those working in chambers on matters
affecting diversity and social mobility through its confidential
Equality and Diversity Helpline.
These are just some of the highlights.
If you could see as I do, the commitment of Bar Council staff, and
of committee members numbering approximately 120 barristers who
give freely of their time to support the profession and the public
interests it serves, you would have no hesitation in concluding
that the BRF, which provides crucial support to all this work, is
very good value for money.
If you want to support the Bar Council's work in these areas and in
other essential matters for the profession, please this year do pay
Paying the annual BRF payment of £100 is easy and you can do so
effortlessly while making your declarations and paying for your
Practising Certificate through the Barrister Connect portal.
Alternatively, the payment can also be made by card or by sending a
cheque to the Bar Council's offices. Or if you prefer,
payments for the BRF can now be made monthly via Direct Debit to
spread the cost throughout the year. It's very simple to do and
only £8.34 per month. Please click here to download the Direct Debit
form. Complete it and send it back to our Member Services team on
the email MemberServices@BarCouncil.org.uk, or contact
+44 (0)20 7611 1321
I urge you to help us to continue all this important work. That
will only be possible with your support.
Andrew Langdon QC
Chairman of the Bar