Bernard Brady QC has become the new Chair of the Bar Council of Northern Ireland. Bernard was called to the Bar in 1994 and took silk in 2020. Much of his work as a barrister involves representing a broad spectrum of clients in the commercial and chancery courts. Bernard has been involved with the Bar Council as a member since 2011 and served as Vice-Chair from 2018-2020, overseeing the strategic delivery of Library services. He takes over from outgoing Chair Sarah Ramsey QC, who led the Bar Council from 2018 until 2020, and joining him at the helm is Peter Coll QC who becomes Vice-Chair of the Bar.
Commenting on his election as Chair, Bernard said: “I am delighted to take on the role of Chair of the Bar; it is an honour to lead the profession of which I have been a member for over 25 years. Undoubtedly there will be challenges ahead for us and our other justice partners, including the ongoing impact of covid-19 on court business. I have already been working intensively to ensure that the Bar Council supports members to react and respond to the huge effect this has had on clients, the economy and courtroom practice. I remain determined that we will summon up a resilience and adaptability right across the Bar and not let this define the profession as there are many other significant opportunities for us as we approach the new legal year.
As I take on the role of Chair, I am looking forward to promoting the important role of the independent referral Bar in supporting the rule of law and access to justice across Northern Ireland. Strengthening our engagement with external partners, not only in Northern Ireland, but also in the Republic of Ireland, the rest of the UK and internationally is also a priority for me. I am keen that my term in office will be recognised for building further on our positive relationships with solicitor colleagues, policy makers and beyond in ensuring a sustainable Bar and thriving legal sector in the years ahead.
Earlier this year I also had the privilege of joining with representatives from over 50 Bar Associations across Europe in signing the Bar Council of Northern Ireland up to the Resolution on the protection of the Rule of Law in Europe. I am determined that under my time as Chair the Bar will take decisive action in speaking up and standing united with colleagues in defending fundamental liberties and rights wherever the rule of law is under threat.
I am also committed to ensuring the highest standards of ethics across the profession as well as enhancing equality and diversity at the Bar. A strong, vibrant and collegiate Bar is essential for promoting public confidence in the expert legal advocacy services provided by our members. I also plan to deliver a refreshed and bespoke service offering for members of the Library focusing on efficient new practice management supports in the months ahead.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor Sarah Ramsey QC for her leadership and tireless hard work during her term in office, not least in recent times with the unique circumstances foist upon us by Covid-19. I would like to thank her for her efforts in navigating the challenges of this as well as delivering improvements not only to the Bar but also to all those we work with and represent throughout her time as Chair”.