Michael Todd QC, the new Chairman of the Bar Council, has told barristers and the Government that it is time to invest in the future.
Giving his inaugural address to the Bar Council in early December, he emphasised his support for pro bono work, social mobility within the profession and a more effective Bar Council.
Todd, who went on to take up office on 1 January, said: “My message is simple. It is short. It is that we all must invest in the future.
“This is not just a blind call to politicians to spend money they do not have. It is a call to all of us, to the Government, to individual barristers, to chambers and to the Bar Council to marshal our resources; to invest our available resources wisely to produce the greatest returns; to invest more strategically, more intelligently and more transparently.”
He said there needed to be “give and take” in relations with the Government, adding, “We, on our side, have certainly been giving a lot”.
Pro bono, while not a replacement for a properly funded legal aid system, is set to play an increasingly important role, he said, and the Bar should work towards achieving an “independently financially sustainable” system.
He called for “focused investment” on the issue of social mobility: “We need to be, and to be seen to be, an accessible profession, in which we never take our eyes off the importance of, and benefits that can be gained from, social mobility and diversity.”
Michael Todd QC is a former chair of the Chancery Bar Association, and is head of Erskine Chambers.