10 things the Bar Council did in July 2017

7 August 2017

  1. Chair of the Bar Andrew Langdon QC called for a complete rethink on the availability and sufficiency of legal aid is needed in order to prevent excluding those who cannot afford its protection. The Chair of the Bar was responding to a speech by Lord Neuberger, outgoing President of the Supreme Court, who analysed what has gone wrong with Legal Aid over the last 20 years.  

  2. In an article in The Times' The Brief and published on the Bar Council's website, Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC said it was time to admit the flexible court hours pilot was a bad idea. He said: "Two things are on a collision course. The first is Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service's (HMTCS) plan that courts operate on a shift system - so called 'Flexible Operating Hours'. The second is the determination of the legal profession and many within the judiciary to do whatever it takes to retain talented women at the Bar so that the senior Bar and the judiciary at all levels exhibit a stronger representation of women. 

  3.  As part of the Bar Council's wider support for LGBT at the Bar, during the month of Pride two short promotional videos were produced to acknowledge how the Bar's advocacy in Equality and Diversity for the LGBT community has developed over the years. In addition, Andrew Langdon QC, Chair of the Bar, joined other barristers and legal professionals on the London Pride march. 

  4. The Bar Council and Family Law Bar Association (FLBA) jointly backed family law barristers for meeting their clients' needs and expectations after research from the Bar Standards Board (BSB) showed clients were positive about the service their barrister provided. Similar levels of client satisfaction with their lawyers were also reported by new findings from the Legal Services Consumer Panel.  

  5. Robin Allen QC, Chair of the Bar Council's Equality and Diversity Committee, called for urgent action in response to the publication of the Judicial Diversity Statistics 2017. He said the lack of progress in recruiting any Black British judges to the High Court and more senior courts, and only a very tiny percentage in the Crown Court, is unrepresentative of a diverse modern Britain. He added: "If this is not put right soon it will undermine the trust in the principle of equality before and under the law." 

  6. The Supreme Court's ruling that employment tribunal fees were unlawful was welcomed by the Bar Council. A Bar Council spokesperson was quoted in the media as saying: "There are broad and encouraging implications for those of us that believe in the case for increasing access to justice in our society." 

  7. The Bar Council gave its initial reaction to the Review of Civil Litigation Costs: Supplemental Report - Fixed Recoverable Costs by Lord Justice Jackson. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, said that it indicated that Jackson LJ had listened carefully to the views of the legal profession and accepted proposals from the Bar Council and others that multi track cases are so varied in character that they do not lend themselves to any rigid costs matrix, and that cost management is working better than had been supposed. 

  8. The Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer, KCB QC MP was the latest keynote speaker to be announced for this year's Annual Bar & Young Bar Conference on 4 November 2017. He joins other big names from the legal sector at this, the 32nd Bar Conference. 

  9. Philip Rule of No 5 Chambers scooped the Bar Council-sponsored Legal Aid Barrister of the Year award at Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards (LALYs)  for his work in public law, civil liberties and human rights. 

  10. The Young Barristers' Committee hosted its annual workshop entitled, 'The Specialist Advocate', with a keynote speech from Sir Brian Leveson and guest speakers Mr Justice Foskett, Mrs Justice Andrews, HHJ Hilliard and many more.