Break-in at the Bar Council

IN the early evening of Friday 12 December, a break-in occurred at the Holborn offices of the Bar Council, which also houses its regulatory arm, the Bar Standards Board.

The break-in was discovered on 13 December and police were on the scene on the same day. An investigation is underway. The Bar Council has confirmed that a laptop and four computer hard-drives were taken.

All of the data stolen is held under two or three levels of security. The data is covered by a high level of protection and cannot be accessed readily. As an Approved Regulator, and a responsible authority for data, the Bar Council takes its data protection responsibilities seriously, and has adopted a precautionary approach. The protected data stolen is :


  • the contact details and basic factual data records of all practising barristers, and some non-practising barristers. Much of this data is routinely publicised in Bar directories and on Chambers websites.
  • the protected records (name, bank account number and sort code) of 3,000 Direct Debit payers: the data does not include any
    passwords, debit or credit card numbers, or pin numbers
  • the protected contact addresses of lay members of Bar Council and Bar Standards Board committees
  • approximately 1500 protected original complaints records being used for new IT system testing, which includes names and contact details of the complainants, witnesses, and barristers, and details of the complaints.

The Bar Council has taken steps to notify relevant complainants and any others who might be affected, as well as to notify all barristers, and all Bar Council and BSB lay committee members. The Chief Executive of the Bar Council, David Hobart said: “I am sorry that, as a result of this burglary, barristers and some members of the public have had data stolen from the Bar Council office in Holborn.

At present the signs are this was a random burglary, but to be sure we will have to wait for the outcome of the police investigation. I want to reassure anyone who may be concerned that the stolen data is correctly and safely protected, and I am confident that no one will suffer loss as a result.”

A Bar Council help line has been set up on 0207 611 1418 for anyone with specific concerns about the implications of this crime.