Who we are and our values

The Bar is a strong and independent profession of advocates whose existence is vital to the maintenance of the Rule of Law. It encompasses both self-employed and employed practitioners. It exists to serve the public and is crucial to the administration of justice.

Barristers enable people to uphold their legal rights. They 'speak truth to power', whether to Government or mighty corporations. Their role is to speak fearlessly on behalf of their clients, some of whom may be among the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Barristers must discharge their duties irrespective of their views of the client or the client's case, no matter how unpopular they may be. They must act without regard to commercial or group interests. They have a duty to the court to ensure that justice is served by full disclosure and presentation of all relevant authorities, which is a duty which overrides their duty to their clients.

The Bar makes a vital contribution to the efficient operation of criminal and civil courts. It provides a pool of talented men and women from diverse backgrounds from which a significant proportion of the judiciary is drawn, on whose independence the Rule of Law and our democratic way of life depend.

The Bar Council represents approximately 16,000 practising employed and self-employed barristers in England and Wales, and a further 7,200 non-practising barristers in this jurisdiction and overseas. It is a membership organisation which promotes the Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services; fair access to justice for all; the highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession; and the development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

Under the Legal Services Act 2007, the Bar Council is also the Approved Regulator (AR) of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board (BSB). This Strategic Plan is consistent with the BSB's own Strategic Plan.

Our values

All of our work will be firmly underpinned by the values we embrace: fairness, respect, integrity, excellence and value for money.