It reveals a rise in the number of self-employed barristers who work independently of chambers (sole practitioners). There were 298 sole practitioners in 2006 and 419 in 2010.

The rest of the self-employed Bar work from 330 chambers. Some 65 per cent of 15,387 barristers with practicing certificates are men, and 90 per cent are white. Just shy of 3,000 barristers are employed.

Michael Todd QC, chairman of the Bar, said: “In terms of composition of and retention at the Bar, having ready access to statistics will help us easily to monitor changes as they happen or, even more importantly, where they are not happening quickly enough. This will help us to make better investment decisions and to marshal our resources to safeguard the future of the Bar.”

Baroness Ruth Deech, chair of the Bar Standards Board, said: “We are pleased to see that the report demonstrates a positive representation of women, BME and disabled barristers at entry level and hope that the introduction of our new Equality and Diversity Rules later this year will ensure that these figures are reflected at senior levels of the profession in the near future.”