The Established Barristers Programme

Education has always been a vital function of the Inn and what it does for its members, and the re-opening of the Treasury Building last year with our new suite of training rooms has brought this to the very heart of the organization.

In the past however, our provision has traditionally focused on the compulsory training required by student, pupil and newly qualified members as they embark on their careers at the Bar, with far fewer training opportunities beyond the first three years of practice. As any barrister will attest though, learning does not simply stop after these early years at the Bar, and honing skills and keeping knowledge up to date is vital. While The Bar Standards Board (BSB) requires practising barristers to complete and record some Continuing Professional Development (CPD) each year thereafter, high quality training can be difficult to come across.

As part of the Inn’s commitment to making its educational function and facilities available to all members, we are developing a new programme of training events and activities solely for established practitioners. These will sit alongside its long running training sessions on handling vulnerable witnesses, and for those wishing to become pupil supervisors or advocacy trainers for the Inn. We also provide ongoing training for advocacy trainers, such as the session on teaching Case Analysis in June, led by Master Grahame Aldous and Master Ann Ainslie-Wallace, visiting us from Australia.

The Established Barristers programme commenced in January this year and has seen a broad range of events – online and in person – focusing not just on skills for members to use in the courtroom, but also more general topics of use to help manage their practice, wellbeing and develop their careers. The sessions so far have been as follows:

Dealing With Distressing Material / Secondary Trauma at the Bar

An online panel event featuring practising barristers (Selva Ramasamy KC and Thomas Coke-Smyth) and qualified therapists (Judith Kark and Mary Jackson) which considered how to look after yourself when dealing with cases that involve distressing material and situations, how to identify if they are impacting you in the long term, and how to reduce this impact in a safe and constructive way.

“Beyond The Ten Commandments” – Advanced Cross-Examination

More than 40 years after its publication, Irving Younger’s The Art of Cross-Examination (1976) is still one of the best-known and most respected studies on the subject, and his filmed lectures are still used in advocacy training around the world. This entertaining and interactive session with Master Alistair Hodge took each of Younger’s “Ten Commandments” of cross-examination to new levels, providing tips and guidance on advanced cross-examination in both civil and criminal jurisdictions.

Careers Development Panel Session

An online panel discussion session which drew on the experience of our members to give advice on moving chambers and practice area, applying for silk, applying to be a recorder, moving to the Bench earlier than usual, and advice on ‘playing the long game’ – what career decisions to make now to fit in to a long-term plan. The panel comprised Masters Azib, Clarke, Matthewson, Petts and Wood, as well as Daniel Sheridan and District Judge Denise Saunders.

Case Analysis Training

Communication Skills for Barristers in the Workplace

These practical workshops with professional actors, provided practitioners with the tools and techniques to strengthen their vocal range and quality, manage body language and non verbal signals, control their nerves and help manage stress levels, and build confidence in communication. There were separate groups for those looking to identify and iron out long established bad habits, and those looking to rebuild confidence on returning to the Bar after time away from practice.

The Parole Board: A Force for Good, or Under Siege?

A talk given by His Honour Nicholas Coleman, explaining the role of the Parole Board, reviewing how members of the board approach their task by investigating the risks presented by a prisoner, and considering whether its role may be undermined by ill-considered political decisions and/or public pressure. The talk touched on the cases of Pearce and Bailey, as well as the recent High Court judgement that last year’s hearing reforms by the Lord Chancellor were unlawful.

Accounting and Saving Tax, Mortgages and Financial Planning

A seminar with presenters from Silver Levene Chartered Certified Accountants, Henry Dannell Mortgage Brokers and Fleet Street Wealth, giving information on how to plan financially for now and the future. The speakers touched on how to plan ahead for tax payments, saving tax with pension contributions, recent changes to the Judicial Pension Scheme and how to navigate low-income years for mortgage purposes.

AI and the Law

AI and the Law

This fascinating talk by Master Kay Firth-Butterfield explored current developments in AI technology across the globe. While there are extreme benefits from this new development in AI, there are also significant dangers, not least the ever more convincing disinformation affecting our social and political processes. The legal profession will not be immune from the potentially explosive effects of these new technologies, not least in the work they will create for lawyers trying to bring some order to the way these machines operate. The talk suggested ways in which we can harness the best and prepare for the worst of a technology which is like no other.

The sessions so far have been well attended and received by members, but we are keen to ensure that they continue to be as useful and relevant as possible. To that effect, in June the Inn launched its first online survey for established barristers, to canvass their opinion on what would appeal and be most useful to them in terms of ongoing training.

The survey was open until the start of the summer break, and at the time of publication, the results were being studied and analysed to feed into our future planning. If you missed the survey however, it is not too late to let us know what you would like to see on the training programme, or even to volunteer to participate in events yourself – please get in touch with David Miller in the Education Department.


Events currently planned for the autumn term in include a talk on 14 September 2023 entitled Good Practice When Working with Trans People in the Legal System and Courts, and a full-day conference on 25 November 2023 on open source and user-generated evidence, their authentication and admissibility, and how they have been used in the courtroom globally and in the UK. Issues of accountability and disinformation will be examined, as well as the likely impact of AI on user-generated evidence in criminal proceedings. The day will feature a keynote speech from Eliot Higgins (Bellingcat).

Related articles

View all


Keep on Reading