Bar Council Annual Report 2016-17

About the Bar

Business + Intellectual Property Attorneys

About the Bar

The Bar of England and Wales is a unique legal profession of specialist advocates and advisers. There are now approximately 16,000 practising barristers, employed and self-employed,  in England and Wales.

The Bar provides solutions to any legal problem and is very good value for money. Relatively recent rule changes to the way in which barristers work mean that the Bar is more accessible than ever through Public Access and Licensed Access


Barristers have been providing expert advice and advocacy since the 13th century. For many years, they had a monopoly on the right to represent people in the higher courts. Although that monopoly has gone, the Bar remains a thriving profession, offering high quality advice and advocacy.

The Bar in society

The Bar plays a positive role in society and barristers are a powerful force for good in the communities they operate in, providing effective access to justice where otherwise it would not exist. The Bar Council will continue to promote the profession’s vital contributions and socially responsible ways of working. For more information about Bar Council activity in this area, contact Sam Mercer.

finding a barrister

There are three main resources available to help you to find a barrister. The official Bar Directory is provided by Sweet and Maxwell, and is widely used by the legal profession. Mediation is a growing field, and many barristers are trained to provide this service. You can search the Mediation Directory to find an individual to assist in resolving your dispute. Many barristers now accept direct instruction from members of the public or companies without requiring instruction from a solicitor. The Public Access Directory provides details of all barristers who undertake work in this manner.