The Bar’s Eye on Brexit

The Bar Council was neutral as to the result of the EU Referendum. It limited its activities to producing a hugely informative set of notes on the consequences of either an ‘in’ or ‘out’ vote. If you want to understand the potential ramifications for the referendum vote you could do a lot worse than read these papers, which can be found here:

Where the Bar Council is emphatically not neutral, is in the view that it needs to do whatever it can to help the profession to mitigate the risks and take advantage of the opportunities of the Brexit vote. That is why the Bar Council has established a Brexit Working Group, the remit of which is to do just that. I am the Young Bar representative on that group.

However, before the Brexit working group can march off confidently in the direction of helping the profession, it is of course important to work out what the profession actually wants. To this end an open meeting was held at Serle Court in Lincoln’s Inn to garner views from the profession. The meeting was very well attended, with people travelling from all over the country. A huge number of issues were identified, but a number of key priorities emerged.

First, the Bar Council must do its utmost to ensure that those who practice EU Law and who, for example, exercise practicing rights in the Court of Justice of the European Union by virtue of the UK’s membership of the EU, can continue to practice EU Law and exercise those rights.

Second, the Bar Council must seek to ensure that the issues of jurisdiction, the enforcement of judgments and other such matters are appropriately dealt with in a way which serves the interests of justice and the profession.

Third, the Bar Council must do all it can to make sure that the Bar is well placed to take advantage of the considerable amounts of work which will be generated by Brexit, particularly in government.

Many important consequences for domestic law were also identified. However, it was thought that it is important that work is not duplicated across the profession and much of this work is already being undertaken by specialist bar associations, who are in any event better placed to carry out such work. The role of the Brexit Working Group will be to coordinate these efforts, if required, and to identify gaps in the work being done.

If you would like feed in your views in relation to any of the priorities identified above, or if you think further priorities need to be considered, please email the group at

Duncan McCombe – Vice Chairman of the Young Barristers’ Committee