The employed Bar

This section of the Toolkit contains information of specific relevance to the employed Bar. There is masses of information in other sections of the toolkit which may be relevant too, including in particular the sections on work-life balance and continuing professional development.

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Around 20% of barristers practising in England and Wales are employed barristers in the public or private sectors: generally either the Crown Prosecution Service, Government Legal Service, armed forces, industry, solicitors’ firms or miscellaneous other bodies including public authorities, regulators and charities.

There are a number of potential advantages and benefits to practising at the employed Bar.  For example, generally, the employed Bar will offer a steady salary and regular working hours, a guaranteed level of work, the support structures and resources of employers, and the ability to pay tax easily through the PAYE system (without having to retain an accountant).  Some employed barristers will also be able to benefit from union membership, and many employers pay their barristers’ practising certificate fees.

In addition to these practical advantages, the employed Bar offers a very wide range of potential practice areas, both in terms of the area of law and the capacity in which the barrister is employed.

Barristers can move into employment at any point in their career.

Some organisations are Approved Training Organisations. These organisations can offer employed pupillages, meaning it is possible to train as an employed barrister.

The Bar Council has an Employed Barristers’ Committee. In brief, its remit is to provide support to the employed Bar in all matters relevant to practice at the employed Bar; to influence policy and advise representative committees of the Bar Council and their sub-committees on all matters of particular concern to the employed Bar, or upon which advice is sought by other representative committees or sub-committees of the Bar Council; and to consider and advise on the implications for the employed Bar of any regulatory changes proposed by the BSB.

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