Bar braced for key report on access and diversity

Lord Neuberger’s ‘Entry to the Bar’ working party will publish its final report tomorrow (27 November), with 57 recommendations to “level the playing field within the profession”, according to Neuberger.

The report, which looks at the bar’s access and training, is expected to be broadly consistent with the working party’s interim report, which was published in April.

Earlier this year Neuberger was calling for more diversity and access to the bar. His working party proposed that the financial barrier to entering the bar was one of the fundamental issues for those from less-privileged backgrounds.

The interim report recommended that a bar loan scheme should be brought in on “preferential terms”. The strategy will run alongside Inns’ scholarships and awards schemes, which total a little less than £4m annually. This is expected to be cemented in the final report. It is anticipated that other proposals to be enshrined in the final report will include an overhaul of the pupillage system and a shake-up of the profession’s recruitment rules.

Neuberger told The Lawyer: “The final report is much fuller than the interim report and we look forward to hearing the reaction to our proposals.”