Bar Council firmly in the black despite rise in costs

The Bar Council has been left with a £250,000 budget surplus for the 1996 financial year despite a huge increase in its costs.

Treasurer Michael Blair QC writes in the council's 1996 annual report that it was a year of financial good fortune with a budget underspend of £194,705 and unrealised investment gains of £55,214.

The budget had to increase by 35 per cent to £4.4m to meet new responsibilities for regulating education and training at the Bar, although this wider remit also brought in additional income from institutions which had paid to offer vocational courses.

While the size of the Bar is growing, subscription income of around £2.3m was lower than expected. The Bar Council is looking at how it can tighten up what is essentially a voluntary subscription scheme.

However, the financially healthy state of the Bar means that this is not a priority. Some subscriptions are actually being reduced in line with a policy to assist younger, less well-off barristers.

Subscriptions for third-year tenants have fallen from £115 to £39 while subscription levels for other barristers have not increased for the third year running.