The Victorian Bar is the professional association representing over 2000 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 administration 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 are responsible for booking, scheduling, billing and administration on behalf of the 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 better administration of justice and the rule of law
- enhance the reputation, effectiveness and cohesion of the Bar and the 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
- through the Ethics Committee, investigates complaints against barristers referred by the Legal Services Commissioner and reports back to the Commissioner