About the Victorian Bar

The work of the barrister is built on the proud tradition of providing strong and independent legal representation and advice, without fear or favour to all in the community.

The Victorian Bar is the professional association representing more than 2200 barristers in Victoria. The Bar's home is in the Courts precinct of Melbourne in the Owen Dixon Chambers, surrounded by chambers in other buildings.

The Bar is a busy, thriving community comprising barristers, clerks and support staff.

Running the Bar

There are a number of groups conducting the business of the Victorian Bar. 

The Bar Council is an elected body of 21 elected barristers and is ultimately responsible for all initiatives, decisions, policies, and activities at the Bar. Bar Council acts as the Bar's voice in law and policy reform and in the media and public interface. 

Victorian Bar staff members are responsible for the operation of the Bar including the education program, compliance, member services, marketing, community engagement, and general administration. 

The Barristers' Clerks act as an 'agent' for the barristers. They provide a recommendation service to the profession, with knowledge of their barristers’ availability, and areas of expertise. They assist in scheduling their barristers for trials, assist with invoicing and bookkeeping, and assist with general administration needed on behalf of their barristers. 

Barristers' Chambers Limited (BCL) is a wholly-owned service company of the Victorian Bar and administers the Bar's Chambers buildings and a number of barrister services. 

Support and Resources for Members

The Victorian Bar provides resources and opportunity to its members by

  • applying the highest standards for admission to the Bar through its Readers' examinations and Readers' course
  • providing a world class ongoing professional development program for its members to ensure the highest standard of advocacy and strategic legal advice
  • providing best practice training, resources, and facilities for members
  • providing opportunity through partnerships, alliances, events, conferences, wellness programs, social justice initiatives, and community engagement for members to thrive and develop as well rounded members of both the legal community and the community at large

A Better Bar, a Better Legal System

The Victorian Bar supports its members and the community by delivering a suite of services that will:

  • promote the administration of justice and the rule of law
  • enhance the reputation, effectiveness, and cohesion of the Bar and the legal profession
  • ensure the well-being of our members

The public interest is served by the Victorian Bar in a number of important ways, including:

  • maintaining a strong and independent Bar as an integral part of our democracy and our system of law and justice
  • promoting the rule of law and the proper administration of justice
  • seeking to ensure that access to the courts is open to all members of the community
  • constructively engaging with governments and with law reform agencies with respect to legislation, law reform, rules of court, and the business and procedure of courts
  • working and liaising with the independent Bars and Law Societies in Australia through the Australian Bar Association and the Law Council of Australia
  • providing and organising pro bono representation and legal assistance
  • the establishment and ongoing provision of advocacy training in the South Pacific region

A detailed statement of the Bar’s Purposes is set out in our Constitution.

What Drives Us

The values underpinning our operations, activities and programs are:

  • Independence of government, client, solicitor, colleague, and self-interest
  • A strong enduring community of barristers who maintain the highest professional and ethical standards
  • Excellence and innovation borne of a deep understanding of the law
  • Supporting the right of all members of society to access quality legal representation
  • Vigorous and fearless representation of our clients’ rights and interests
  • A system of law that secures justice in a free and democratic society

Our Compliance with Professional Standards

The Victorian Bar

  • performs several functions delegated by the Legal Services Board (the peak legal regulatory body in Victoria) including the receipt and processing of applications for practising certificates by barristers
  • under delegation from the Legal Services Commissioner, investigates suitability matters concerning barristers.