General Council of the Bar Archive catalogue

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Address: The Bar Council, 289-293 High Holborn, London WC1V 7HZ
Secretary: Natalie Zara, Head of Governance 
Telephone: 020 7242 0082


Reference code: BCO
Held at: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS)
Title: The Bar Council Archives
Date(s):  1883-1999
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent and form: 117 volumes, 45 files, 28 booklets and 113 documents
Name of creator(s): The Bar Council
Catalogue last updated: July 2020 


Administrative history: The General Council of the Bar (now The Bar Council) was created in 1894 to deal with breaches of a barrister's professional etiquette, something that had previously been handled by the judiciary.  Along with the Inns of Court it formed the Senate of the Inns of Court and the Bar in 1974, a union that was broken up on 1 January 1987 following a report by Lord Rawlinson. The Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 designated the Bar Council as the professional body for barristers, with the role as a regulatory body being split off in 2006 to form the Bar Standards Board.  

The Bar Council is the professional association for barristers in England and Wales.  


Scope and content:  includes: Minutes, Agenda & Papers of the Council and committees; Regulations and Bylaws; Correspondence; Subject files; Publications; Bar Council Reports; Annual Statements; Submissions to Royal Commissions and external bodies; Royal Commission Reports; Senate of the Four Inns of Court minutes and statements.


Language/scripts of material: English 

System of arrangement: chronologically within series unless otherwise stated.
Conditions governing access: printed and published material open. Unpublished material open after 20 years other than material closed for 75 years in accordance with the Data Protection Act or for reasons of confidentiality and to protect personal privacy; access conditions are specified in the individual series descriptions. Closed items are designated in red.

Conditions governing reproduction: copies may be made for private use.  Copying of material is at the archivist’s discretion. Some material may be too fragile for copying. Requests for permission to publish any material copied or extracts thereof should be made to the copyright holder.  A Copyright Declaration – request for copies or a Copyright Declaration - self service photography form must be completed. 

Copyright: The Bar Council


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: the collection consists of all the surviving material up to 1999 relating to The Bar Council and, with the exception of duplicates, has been preserved in its entirety.

Accruals: Further accruals are not expected.
Archival history: The records were transferred from The Bar Council to the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.

Immediate source of acquisition: The Bar Council


Other archive material relating to the history of the Bar is included in the Council of Legal Education archives (held at IALS Archives: ref CLE) and in the Archives of the Inns of Court.


Archivist's note: Original catalogue compiled by Elizabeth Dawson inn 2014.  Further accruals were catalogued by Catherine Wakeling, with additional material by George Bray and Elizabeth Dawson.  The catalogue was updated in 2020 by Clare Cowling.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997. 

Page last updated: 5th July 2021

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