Bar Conference is a unique event in the Bar’s calendar that you will not want to miss. In a likely general election year, the event will debate the big issues facing the justice sector and hear from those who will shape our future.

Chair of the Bar, Sam Townend KC, says: ‘Bar Conference offers something for everyone. It’s a chance for the whole Bar to come together to grapple with the biggest challenges facing the justice sector. In a general election year it’s more important than ever that barristers have the chance to hear from those who have the power to shape the justice system – and that they get to hear views from the Bar.’ The three headline speakers for the event are the Lady Chief Justice Baroness Carr, the Lord Chancellor Rt Hon Alex Chalk KC MP, and Shadow Lord Chancellor Shabana Mahmood MP.

All three speakers will consider ‘what next for justice’ in England and Wales and take part in a Q&A discussion chaired by Sam Townend KC (Lord Chancellor session), Lord Macdonald KC (Shadow LC session), and Amrit Kaur Dhanoa (LCJ session).

Amrit Kaur Dhanoa, Chair of the Young Barristers’ Committee, says: ‘Bar Conference brings the profession together which can be hugely rewarding for those starting out in their careers at the Bar. It’s an invaluable opportunity to meet new people, exchange ideas, and engage in discussions over a new policy or practice area. Working at the Bar can be intense and the Bar Conference offers a welcoming environment for learning in a relaxed and enjoyable setting.’

The international panel debate will discuss the effectiveness of international courts and consider what the future holds. The panel, chaired by Baroness Kennedy KC, will include ICC Judge Joanna Korner CMG KC, Lord Neuberger, and the journalist Chris Stephen.

With the rapid growth of ChatGPT and other generative AI, the panel debate on technology will ask what place artificial intelligence could – and should – have in the justice sector. The debate, chaired by David O’Mahony (7BR), will hear from speakers including Sir Robert Buckland KC MP and Shobana Iyer (Swan Chambers).

In the wake of the Post Office scandal, the Bar Council has joined calls for private prosecutions to be reformed. But how? The debate, chaired by Adrian Darbishire KC (QEB Hollis Whiteman), will hear from Ari Alibhai (QEB Hollis Whiteman), Flora Page (23ES) and Polly Sprenger (Addleshaw Goddard).

The programme also includes practical sessions on earnings and work allocation, futureproofing practice through ADR and navigating ethical dilemmas at the Bar (with a particular focus on the employed Bar). Dr Paul Redmond, University of Liverpool, will deliver a thought-provoking session on navigating intergenerational differences between the four generations currently working at the Bar: Baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z. The conference will also be hosting the Lifetime Achievement in Pro Bono, the Sydney Elland Goldsmith Award, presented by the Lord Chancellor.

Book your ticket today

Full price tickets are £150 (+VAT) and 20% discounts are available for Bar Representation Fee subscribers, barristers with a primary practising address outside the South Eastern Circuit and barristers in income band 1. The discounts can be combined up to a maximum of 50% off.

Find out more information and reserve your place.