23 September 2019

Practising barrister statistics

Barristers in England and Wales are specialist advocates and advisers who provide expert legal services when representing their lay and professional clients in courts and other legal contexts.

Barristers are entitled to hold a Practising Certificate upon their successful completion of pupillage. This is renewed annually and grants them the right to practise as barristers. All barristers with Practising Certificates may work as self-employed, employed or as dual practitioners. The majority are self-employed.

 Practising Total


Practising Total - Gender

 Practising Total - Ethnicity


Practising Total - Age


Self-employed practitioners

Self-employed barristers work in chambers (which employ administrative and management staff funded by members' "rent") or work alone as sole practitioners.

Self Employed - Total


Self Employed - Gender 

Self Employed - Ethnicity


Self Employed - Age


 Sole practitioners

Sole - Total


Sole - Gender 

Sole practitioners - Ethnicity 

Sole - Age


Dual capacity practitioners

Barristers who practise in a dual capacity undertake employed and self-employed work.

Dual - Total


Dual - Gender


Dual - Ethnicity


Dual - Age


Employed practitioners

Employed barristers are practising barristers who work either under a contract of employment, or under a written contract for services which is for a determinate period, or by virtue of an office under the Crown (such as the Crown Prosecution Service) or in the institutions of the European Union.

Employed - Total


Employed - Gender


Employed - Ethnicity


Employed - Age


The Practising Bar at less than 5 years of call

Called to the Bar - overall


5 years - Total


5 years - Gender  

5 years - Ethnicity


5 years - Age


The Practising Bar at 15+ years of call

15 years - Total


15 years - Gender


15 years - Ethnicity


15 years - Age



* Please note that our statistics on the age of barristers practising at the Bar are not directly comparable between 2015 and earlier years. This is due to us improving the way in which we obtained this information from barristers from 2015. 

** Please note that reporting mechanisms have changed over the past years. As a result of sourcing from various data streams and the implementation of more robust quality assurance structures some numbers may vary from previous publications. 

 *** The BSB gathers diversity data for individual barristers via the "MyBar" online portal, as part of the Authorisation to Practise process, using a Legal Services Board-designed form. Provision of the data is voluntary because data protection laws dictate that people - in any profession - cannot be obliged to disclose equality and diversity data about themselves if they do not wish to do so.  

Date of next update

February 2020

Source of data

This data is sourced from the Bar Standards Board Database.