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News update from The Bar Council

The Bar Council provides a regular News Update on general legal issues that will be of interest to our members.

The most recent News Updates can be viewed below. If you would would like to sign up to receive this News Update by email, please contact The Bar Council.

19 October

AGFS

Scottish Legal News – Responding to the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) consultation on injecting £15m into the advocates’ graduated fee scheme (AGFS) the Bar Council said ‘we are now at a pivotal point’.
“Many advocates now seriously question whether there is a financially viable future career at the criminal Bar,” the council said in its response to a Ministry of Justice consultation on a proposed reformed pay scheme for work in the crown courts.
“We believe that the MoJ has started to recognise this danger and the review is a step in the right direction.” However, ministers “must go much further”.

EU Law

Shropshire Star x 3 – Local press continues to report that Richard Gibbs of No5 Barristers’ Chambers in Birmingham has been asked to join the EU Law Committee of the Bar Council.
 
The Bar Council’s EU Law committee monitors and addresses legal issues emanating from the EU including policy and legislative proposals from the various EU institutions, and then co-ordinates responses to policy issues which arise. 

Immigration

Cambrian News – Cambrian News reports that councillors in Gwynedd are to write to the government in protest over the indefinite detention of migrants. The article reports that the Bar Council and other organisations have called for a time limit on detention. 

Pupillage

The Times (Student Law supplement) – The Times’ law student supplement looks at pupillage in a series of articles. 
 
One article looks at pupillages in law firms. The Times says that whilst some law firms offer pupillages, it is limited. It is reported that: “According to research by the Bar Council Pupillage Gateway, just 13 firms in England and Wales are offering pupillages — none of them at large City commercial firms.”
 
The Times also looks at scholarships for pursuing a career at the Bar. The Times reports that: “Training to become a barrister in London costs an eye-watering £127,000, according to Chantal-Aimée Doerries, QC, a former chairwoman of the Bar Council. The figure is based on an undergraduate who did a non-law degree, followed by the graduate diploma in law (GDL) conversion course and the Bar professional training course (BPTC).
 
“However, help is at hand. Between them, the four Inns of Court, one of which all wannabe barristers must join, offer hundreds of scholarships, grants and prizes — totalling more than £6 million a year — to cover the BPTC, GDL, pupillage and other incidentals.”

BAR COUNCIL TWEETS @thebarcouncil
Liverpool Law Fair

 

17 October

AGFS

The Times, Law Gazette – Responding to the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) consultation on injecting £15m into the advocates graduated fee scheme (AGFS) the Bar Council said ‘we are now at a pivotal point’.

“Many advocates now seriously question whether there is a financially viable future career at the criminal Bar,” the council said in its response to a Ministry of Justice consultation on a proposed reformed pay scheme for work in the crown courts.

“We believe that the MoJ has started to recognise this danger and the review is a step in the right direction.” However, ministers “must go much further”.

The council, which represents more than 15,000 barristers in England and Wales, argued that the government must stem the haemorrhaging in the crime legal aid budget as not doing so would “lead to the loss of the ablest” and “form a barrier to and impact on the future social and broader diversity of the criminal Bar”.

The response references a survey the Bar Council conducted earlier this year which showed that 48% of the criminal bar are unable to balance their home and work lives and that 33% said they would leave the profession if they could.

Sexual harassment

LawCareers.Net, Legal Futures – The Bar Council is to publish new guidance for barristers and chambers on dealing with sexual harassment, amid claims that many chambers’ existing policies are “wholly ineffective”. This is because either “victims don’t have confidence in those handling complaints” or simply they do not know where to find the policy or even if it exists.
 
There will also be a push to educate barristers about what constitutes inappropriate behaviour.
 
Sophie Garner and Esther Gamble, chair and vice-chair respectively of the Midland Circuit Women’s Forum, and members of the Bar Council’s equality and diversity retention panel, are among those who have been working with the Bar Council to produce a new and comprehensive package of guidance for barristers and chambers.
 
Writing in the latest issue of Counsel magazine, they said the package would include a new model policy to be adopted or adapted to help prevent and deal with harassment; an interactive training course designed to educate and equip everyone at a set, from its head to the junior clerk; a flowchart with a clear guide as to what steps can be taken in the event of a complaint arising; and a revised version of the Bar Council publication, Tackling Sexual Harassment: Information for Chambers.
 

The pair wrote that “front and centre has to be education about inappropriate behaviour”. It was, they said, time to acknowledged and tackle “uncomfortable truths”.

EU Law Committee

The Lawyer, The Business Desk, Midlands Business News, Express & Star (print) - Local, business and legal press report that Richard Gibbs of No5 Barristers’ Chambers in Birmingham has been asked to join the EU Law Committee of the Bar Council.
 
The Bar Council’s EU Law committee monitors and addresses legal issues emanating from the EU including policy and legislative proposals from the various EU institutions, and then co-ordinates responses to policy issues which arise. 
 
Gibbs said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to the EU Law Committee at this crucial time in the development of the legal framework which will surround Brexit but which will also shape our future interplay with the EU.
 
“Of course, Brexit is front and centre as the biggest legal, constitutional and political issue of our age but these other issues are all still being addressed by the committee and I am very much looking forward to playing a part in this important work on behalf of the Bar Council.”
 
BAR COUNCIL TWEETS @thebarcouncil

A photographe of the Counsel Magazine Tweet

A photograph of Daniel Holt Tweet

15 October

Regulation

The Times - Barristers responded cautiously to the impending reform of disciplinary procedures following the LSB’s decision to move from the criminal standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” to the civil standard of “on the balance of probabilities”.

A spokesman for the Bar Council, the body that represents the profession, said there were “diverse views” among barristers about the standard of proof. He acknowledged that as an organisation the council agreed with the many barristers “who wished to retain the criminal standard”.

“We didn’t think that the case for change had been made out at the point the BSB consulted on this issue – no evidence had been presented to suggest that the criminal standard was leading to problems in practice.”

Justice Week

Legal Action - The Law Society, the Bar Council and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) have set up an initiative to promote the value of justice to the public. Justice Week commences on Monday 29 October 2018 with an event that will seek to answer the questions: 'Does "justice" need a makeover

BAR COUNCIL TWEETS @thebarcouncil

Pupillage Fair 2018

Hard working team of Bar Council

Justice Week- Cuts- Wed 31 Oct

 

Education
Members
Date posted: 16 October 2020