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THE BAR Council has elected its first female leader - Heather Hallett QC.
Hallett, the leader of the South Eastern Circuit, beat Douglas Day QC to the post of Bar Council vice-chair in the poll of Bar Council members announced on 17 October.
The current vice-chair, Robert Owen QC, has been elected unopposed to the post of chair. He will replace the current chair David Penry-Davey QC. The in-house barrister, Michael Blair QC, will continue as treasurer.
Hallett said the election of a woman to the post was more important for the signals it would send out to the general public rather than the Bar itself.
She said: "I think within the profession most women believe that the barriers against them have been lifted, except in one or two areas, but it is vital that people outside the Bar realise that women are being elevated to important posts."
As vice chair Hallett will act as Owen's deputy and she said she would maintain a "watch and learn brief".
Traditionally, the vice-chair stands unopposed for the chairmanship after serving in that position for a year.
Owen said his year in office promised to be a "challenging and a rewarding experience.'