Bar Council vice-chair gains salary as report sparks rejig

The Vice-chair of the Bar Council Timothy Dutton QC will be the last in his post to work for free.

Dutton’s successor will be paid half the salary of a High Court judge, which currently stands at £164,430.

Dutton said: “I’m glad to be the last voluntary vice-chairman as it’s a change that’s come not too soon.”

The heir to council’s chair Geoffrey Vos QC will see their pay rise in line with that of a fully salaried High Court judge.

The news of the change in salaries comes after the publication of a report into the internal workings of the Bar Council.

The working party, chaired by former Court of Appeal judge Sir Paul Kennedy, concluded that the Bar Council is “generally effective”, but proposed changes to the composition of the representative body.

The report, published on 23 May, proposes that the council should be more diverse, to include representatives from specialist bar associations (SBAs) and employed barristers among its 118 members.

Changes to the council’s voting system were also mooted. These would include replacing the current single transferable vote with a first-past-the-post system and allowing candidates to stand with the backing of just one other subscriber instead of six.

Vos said the change to the voting system was a significant change, as it opened the door to more ethnic minorities.

“Under the single transferable vote, many BME [black and minority ethnic] and minority lawyers got through the first round, but didn’t have the votes to carry them on to the council,” Vos explained. “Now it means that popular minority candidates will be able to have much-needed input into the council.”

Tom Little, the former chair of the young barristers’ committee, said the reforms will also benefit the junior end of the bar.

“The Bar Council now has around a third of its members in the under-seven-year-call category,” said Little. “And with the changing in the voting system, allied with the SBAs having greater representation, it means the junior bar’s voice will be clearly represented on the council.”

Kennedy added: “We believe the slightly different structure we’re proposing will improve representation of the bar and give a better share of voice to those barristers outside the self-employed arena.”