17 September 2019

Message from our new Chair Sir Andrew Burns KCMG

Sir Andrew Burns (small)

Our new Chair Sir Andrew Burns KCMG started on 1 January 2015. His welcome message to the profession is below. 

Message from our new Chair Sir Andrew Burns KCMG

It is a great privilege and honour to have been invited to succeed Baroness Deech as Chair of the Bar Standards Board. Ruth and I have worked closely together in the past and I know what a challenge it will be to follow in the footsteps of such a humane, experienced and distinguished public figure. Fortunately I inherit an excellent team at the BSB which has gained greatly in maturity and proficiency under Vanessa Davies' direction.

As you will be aware, I have been recruited precisely because I have had no previous connection with the law. I come to this position from a long career as a British diplomat working in India and Hong Kong, in Canada and the United States, in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East. In recent years I have chaired one of the leading universities in the UK, Royal Holloway in the University of London, and am a Governor of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. I have been a BBC Governor. And for the last five years I have been engaged in representing British interests in tackling post-Holocaust Issues, most notably as the current Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which develops intergovernmental cooperation on Holocaust education, remembrance and research.

Needless to say such an international diplomatic career has brought me into contact with many members of the British legal profession at home and abroad. But my more recent responsibilities have involved me in many different fields of regulation: broadcasting, finance, charities and higher education.

For the moment I am very much in a meeting and listening phase and want to get to know and talk to members of the Bar at all levels around the country. As we begin our strategic planning for 2016-19, I am very much looking forward to leading the BSB through the next phase of our journey to becoming a modern and efficient regulator, protecting the public interest while retaining the trust and confidence of the profession itself.

I attended my first Board meeting as Chair on 29 January. You can read some of our post Board meeting announcements in this update. I hope you will find our account of how we are expanding opportunities at the Bar of particular interest.