All bar some

IBC hopes back-room staff will finally gain recognition after ‘culture change’

Michael Todd
Michael Todd

There is much tutting at the Institute of Barristers’ Clerks (IBC) after the Bar Council snubbed its attempt to become fully affiliated with the bar’s representative body.

The IBC had wanted to become affiliated in recognition of the contribution clerks, practice managers and chief executives make.

The longer term objective was to test whether there was an appetite for some form of regulation to drive up standards of professionalism.

The council’s general management committee (GMC) has considered the proposal and sent it to a working party considering the wider structure of the bar.

It has been a long campaign for some small recognition and not everybody in the clerking world supports it, but the perception that affiliation has been added to the bottom of a long list has been seen as a mark of disrespect.

Speaking in April Bar Council chair Michael Todd QC reported that the IBC had “expressed the view that, perhaps more important even than affiliation […] what’s needed is a […] change in attitude of members of the bar towards their clerks and practice managers, recognising that they’re an integral part of our businesses.”

He added: “Personally, I have much sympathy with that view.”

A spokesman for the Bar Council insisted: “We recognise that barristers’ clerks, practice directors and chief executives have a vital role to play.”

It is Todd who will be leading the working party and the IBC hopes he can kick-start this cultural change.