The cost-of-living crisis, funding cuts and other pressures on the legal system underline pro bono’s vital contribution to maintaining the rule of law.

 

The Bar Pro Bono Awards are an opportunity to highlight the incredible pro bono achievements of individuals at the Bar and celebrate #AccessToJustice champions and unsung #ProBonoHeroes.

 

Since 1997 the awards have recognised the outstanding commitment to pro bono work by barristers and chambers. Since then, pro bono has developed, broadened and grown, and it is increasingly difficult to choose one winner from a set of nominees working in different areas.

This year we are launching two new awards in partnership with the Bar Council, the Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year, and the Sustainability Initiative of the Year.

Sustainability Initiative of the Year

The world is drastically changing, and the legal profession is responding. That is why we are introducing this new award celebrating innovative sustainability initiatives led by individuals, chambers, employed Bar organisations, or cross-Bar organisations that demonstrate impact in one or more of the following ways:

Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year

Celebrating initiatives responding to social challenges within the legal profession is further deepened with the introduction of this award. Initiatives, not including environmental programmes, led by individuals, chambers, employed Bar organisations, or cross-Bar organisations that demonstrate impact in areas such as:

 

There are now eleven categories:

The Bar Pro Bono Awards would not be possible without the support the Bar shows each year.

A huge thank you to our main sponsors Lexis Nexis, the LPMA and the Bar Council.

To nominate someone, please fill in the nomination form and return it, along with between two and four supporting letters, to awards@weareadvocate.org.uk

Nominations are now open. The deadline is Friday 19th August 2022.

 

Baroness Blackstone’s Blog 

This month, I would like to draw your attention to the BSB’s new equality strategy. which we published this week along with our new Research Strategy.  I am sure that you will all agree that there is a continuing need to improve the culture at the Bar, tackling discriminatory practice in all its forms and ensuring a supportive environment for all barristers and pupils. The strategy therefore seeks to promote the regulatory objective of encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession and to satisfy the BSB’s duties under the Equality Act. It also seeks to identify areas where the regulator is best placed to act, and where the BSB should seek to collaborate with the profession and others who share our objectives. Through the implementation of this enabling strategy, we aim to reduce the inequalities experienced at the Bar and to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

You will have seen that we recently issued guidance (see below) as to when failure to attend court might be seen as professional misconduct. We were asked to issue this guidance by members of the Bar. In principle, the Handbook does not prevent barristers from engaging in protests, but it may raise regulatory issues depending on the circumstances – please refer to the published statement.

If you are a barrister in self-employed practice and are keen to make a contribution to the regulation of barristers, we are currently seeking self-employed barrister members for our Independent Decision-Making Body and want to encourage a diverse range of people to support us in our modernisation of our decision-making processes. You can find more information and details on how to apply on our website.

This month, we will bid farewell to Elizabeth Prochaska who has been a member of the board since June 2019. I would like to thank Elizabeth for her work with us and wish her the very best for the future. We plan to recruit two more barristers to join the board in the coming months and will keep you informed of their appointments in due course.

Finally, I would like to let you know that this will be my last regulatory update blog, following my announcement in January that I will step down as chair this summer in order to focus on other activities.  We expect that my successor will be announced in August. I have very much enjoyed my time working with the BSB and with the profession and I leave my post with an appreciation of the importance of the Bar to society and to the rule of law and of the many challenges which you currently face. I offer every member of the Bar my very best wishes for the future.

 

Also in this month’s online Regulatory Update:

Statement on deliberately failing to attend court

Reshaping Legal Services conference, 13 October 2022

Authorisation to Practise deadline extended

BSB seeks self-employed barrister members for its Independent Decision-Making Body

Joint legal sector AML Guidance approved by HM Treasury