Four referral Bars meet in Scotland

06 Dec

ADVOCATING access to justice: The latest meeting of the referral Bars of Scotland, England & Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland took place at the Advocates Library in Edinburgh.

Meetings of the four Bars – The Faculty of Advocates in Scotland, The Bar Council in England and Wales, The Bar of Ireland in the Irish Republic, and The Bar of Northern Ireland – take place twice a year, with the location circulating among the member bodies.

In attendance are the Deans or Chairs of each Bar, together with their chief executives. As well as sharing information and experiences across the different jurisdictions, the four Bars forum addresses common and long standing policy concerns across all jurisdictions, particularly in relation to upholding the rule of law and access to justice.

Specific topics on the agenda for the latest meeting included emerging issues from the Brexit process, the value of an independent referral Bar, and activity in each Bar in relation to equality and diversity issues.

The Dean of Faculty, Gordon Jackson, QC, who hosted the meeting, said: “The four Bars forum is extremely useful for sharing information and experiences across our different jurisdictions, including about how an independent referral Bar system is an integral part of providing citizens with access to high quality legal services on an equal and impartial basis.

“It also enables us to pool the collective strength of the four Bars, where appropriate, and to advocate for issues such as access to justice, often on behalf of those who would otherwise have no voice, with a range of stakeholders. This meeting is the latest opportunity to do so, and will inform our agenda for 2019 and beyond.

“I enjoyed welcoming my colleagues from south of the Border, Ireland and Northern Ireland to Edinburgh for our discussions.”