Bar Council renews special nursery deal for barristers

9 March 2018

The Bar Council has renewed a special deal for barristers seeking nursery childcare in London by agreeing a new partnership with independently run Smithfield House Nursery in Smithfield, City of London, which is open from 8am to 6pm 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.  

A Bar Council spokesperson said: "This new agreement means barristers seeking childcare in central London may again have the option of discounted childcare costs close to many courts, chambers and the Inns of Court. Childcare is expensive and for some barristers, it is clear that having a flexible nursery in London fits better to their working pattern. Smithfield House gives our members an extra option when making childcare choices, and the special rates hopefully will appeal to our members who need a nursery for their children.  

"Barristers who had previously used the nursery under the Bar Council arrangement saw real value in this service, which is why we were keen to agree a new partnership." 

Feedback from existing barrister parents includes: 

"My 3-year old son started at Smithfield House when he was 6.5 months old.  He has been part-time…however, from early on I have regularly used the ad-hoc service to get extra days - which has meant my diary has been able to be sufficiently flexible so that I have been able to do court hearings at short-notice." 

"Our little boy…is thriving there and we are really happy with it. Janet and Gail are very accommodating and seem to understand the pressures of working life for parents at the Bar but, perhaps most importantly, they and their staff are just incredibly caring." 

"I could not have remained at the self-employed Bar without the Bar Nursery.  They have opened before 8am for me on several occasions so that I could get to court on time.  They are flexible about occasional lateness when hearings overrun.  And of course, because they are central, I am able to drop my daughter off and still get a train from London, whereas if I had had to drop her locally at 8am there is no way I could travel into London and then out to court on time." 

"I know that retention of new parents at the Bar is an issue.  Certainly I would not have been able to come back with such ease or to remain in self-employed practice without the Bar Nursery. Smithfield House is an absolutely brilliant resource; their ability to facilitate barristers returning to practice extends well beyond the capacity of other nurseries." 

"Janet and Gail and the team at Smithfield House really understand what it means to be…in particular a parent at the Bar where practice can be unpredictable because court hearings or conferences overrun. They understand that there may be times when you have to make other arrangements to pick up your child - and are adaptable at short notice, and will do what they can to help." 

Click here to find out more about how to benefit from the Bar Council offer with this nursery. 

Notes to Editors 

Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and

The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It 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. 

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board.