Bar takes up gauntlet of Woolf reforms

CIVIL reformer Lord Woolf gets top billing at this year's Bar Council conference and will lead an open forum on "effective justice".

Woolf, who will reveal his second set of conclusions on reforms to the civil justice system next year, will also give the keynote address at the 30 September event.

A Bar spokesman said the emphasis on "effective justice" – also the title of the conference – is the result of the Bar's decision to "take up the gauntlet of reform thrown down by Lord Woolf".

"Because of this, this year's conference is very much built around the idea of working out the nuts and bolts of Woolf in practice," he said.

The conference, organised by Edwin Glasgow QC and expected to attract around 300 delegates, is being run on a "radically revised" format, according to the Bar.

The event consists of a full plenary session in the morning, with Woolf, Lord Alexander of Weedon, Lord Williams of Mostyn and solicitor Henry Hodge speaking.

Then, in the afternoon, the conference breaks up into two sets of concurrent workshops. Speakers for these sessions include Rock Tansey QC on "fugitive justice", Mr Justice Hooper on "Eurojustice" and Peter Birts QC on legal aid.

Barristers of all levels are expected at the conference and registration fees range from £240 for silks in London to £30 for pupils and students outside the capital.