The Annual Bar Conference 2014

Celebrating excellence

Key Facts

Date: Saturday 8 November 2014

Time: 08:00–18:00

Cost: Prices start from £125

CPD: Up to 5 points

Venue: Westminster Park Plaza,

200 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7UT


The keynote speakers at this year’s Bar Conference will be Lord Hughes of Ombersley, Justice of the Supreme Court, and Sir Alan Moses. They will be addressing the largest gathering of the Bar community, under the theme of Celebrating Excellence. The Chairman of the Bar, Nicholas Lavender QC, invites you to come together, listen, discuss and learn.

Over the last few years, the Bar has had to operate in a testing environment and previous conferences have considered whether and how the Bar needs to change in order to respond to the rapidly evolving legal landscape. This year, however, the theme of the Conference is “Celebrating Excellence” and the focus will be all that is great about today’s Bar.

For 28 years, the annual Bar Conference has been the flagship event which brings together all members of the Bar community. This year’s conference provides an enticing array of speakers from the legal profession, the judiciary and the business world, and offers a full programme of sessions, including a wide range of specialist workshops. There is also the opportunity to earn up to five CPD hours to round off the year’s requirement.

Early risers can attend a morning session chaired by the Vice-Chairman of the Bar Council, Alistair MacDonald QC, to hear about some of the excellent initiatives which form part of the Bar’s pro bono work. We should be proud of the huge amount of time which barristers are prepared to give up freely for the benefit of the justice system and of individuals caught up in it.

Something for everyone

The opening keynote speech by Lord Hughes will set the tone for a day of informative, positive and lively sessions. It will consider how the expertise of the Bar continues to flourish, while considering areas of risk, and the threats and opportunities arising from changes in the regulatory framework and in the market for legal services.

There will be something for everyone in the morning and afternoon workshops, which have been put together by various Specialist Bar Associations, Circuits and others and at which expert speakers will address a host of topics, ranging from excellence in advocacy at the Commercial Bar to what we can learn from the great criminal advocates. Other issues addressed include handling expert witnesses and questioning vulnerable witnesses, both in the criminal courts and in the family courts.

Sir Alan Moses will bring the formal sessions to a close with what will no doubt be a lively and stimulating speech, after which the Legal Reporting Awards will be presented. The Bar Council set up the annual Legal Reporting Awards 23 years ago to recognise print and broadcast journalists whose work contributes to a greater public understanding of legal issues.

Friends old and new

Finally, there will be a drinks reception, with entertainment and an opportunity to meet old friends or make new ones.

Throughout the day, the latest developments in products and services to meet your professional needs will be on display at the large exhibition and sponsorship platform. Whether you are an employed or self-employed barrister, a practice manager or a clerk, a student or a trainee barrister, the Bar Conference provides an important opportunity to be better informed about the activities of the Bar and better prepared to embrace the opportunities ahead.

It’s not too late to book your place for this year’s Conference. To register your attendance and view the full programme, please visit: www.barcouncil.org.uk or contact TrainingandEvents@BarCouncil.org.uk.

The Annual Bar Conference takes place on Saturday 8 November 2014 at Westminster Park Plaza.

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Nicholas Lavender QC

Chairman of the Bar.