The Young Barristers’ Committee (YBC) was established in 1954. How exactly it came to be – how many barristers made up its first committee; where it first met; and what it first talked about – is lost to time. However, it is almost certain that the idea would have emerged out of a pressing need to address the issues that the junior profession was facing, in a forum that they could call their own. This remains the primary reason for the YBC, and the one which convinced me to run for the office of Chair.

I am delighted to have been elected Chair of the YBC for 2024 and proud to take on the role in its 70th year. I am very excited to work with Lachlan Stewart, my Vice Chair, to tackle the issues facing the young Bar and work towards solutions. As the committee enters 2024, the Young Bar is increasingly diverse, remains highly ambitious, and understands (in my opinion) that the challenges we face will no doubt be a mixture of the age-old and the brand new.

I would like to thank my immediate predecessor Michael Harwood for his steadfast leadership and all his efforts in promoting the interests of the Young Bar over the past year both at home and internationally. I also want to thank his predecessors Michael Polak (2022), Joanne Kane (2021) and Katherine Duncan (2020). Katherine and Joanne led the Young Bar through the COVID-19 pandemic, something which could only have been achieved with their strength and determination.

Being a barrister during the pandemic was gruelling. And yet, being a barrister after the pandemic may be harder still for some. The question of what working culture at the Bar looks like post-COVID, and what that means for professional development at the junior level, is an area I will be looking at closely during my tenure.

Being Chair of the YBC means addressing continued challenges but also those that are much newer. My priorities for this year therefore are a mix of both.

Priorities for 2024

  1. Expanding engagement: I will work hard to engage with junior practitioners across England and Wales to understand what they need from us and identify solutions. We are embarking on a new engagement strategy with the Bar Council, which will include two new events for pupils and newly qualified practitioners in early 2024.
  2. Strengthening partnerships at home and abroad: we will continue to build bridges with colleagues in other jurisdictions and deliver the Anglo-Dutch Exchange and International Weekend. I will personally meet with every junior circuit representative and junior representatives of Specialist Bar Associations to discuss how the YBC can better represent junior members.
  3. Driving professional support and development: I will put our existing support materials front and centre and champion additional and new ways to offer professional support and development that are tailored for the post-pandemic era.
  4. Making the Young Bar’s voice heard: I will personally work with the Chair of the Bar and senior stakeholders across the profession to make sure the young Bar is driving the conversation around fees, regulatory and ethical developments, professional support, and community engagement at the junior level, with a particular emphasis on equality of opportunity for all.

I hope that, with the collective force of the Committee working on these priorities, we can help young barristers make the first seven years count.

As ever, it is something I cannot do in isolation. To quote a former Chair of the YBC, the young Bar is only as strong as its members. Please write to me about any issues and queries via email:

I look forward to going on this journey with you.