Coronavirus - Bar Council Campaign

Thank you for contacting me about support for barristers during the current pandemic.

I share your view that barristers make a tremendous contribution to society and are vital in ensuring the delivery of justice and the maintenance of law and order.

If you are ineligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and your business has been affected by Coronavirus, I urge you to apply for one of a number of business support schemes, such as Bounce Back Loans (BBLS) the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the deferral of VAT payments. The CBILS provides small and medium sized businesses with access to loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. Amongst other criteria, you need to be based in the UK and have an annual turnover of up to £45 million to be eligible. Furthermore, temporary changes to VAT payments mean you can defer payments until a later date without incurring interest or penalties on the amount deferred. I was pleased to read that the Government has clarified that these two schemes are available to barristers and chambers, and I hope they can be of assistance to you during this challenging time.

As I am sure you are aware, the Government has also recently announced plans to bring about the resumption of jury trials. Initially, a limited number of trials will take place safely and in line with social distancing rules at a number of courts. These trials will help the Government understand how it might be possible to conduct trials more widely as the situation with Coronavirus develops.

Thank you again for getting in touch with me on this issue. If you have experienced difficulty in accessing Government support during the pandemic, please do not hesitate to get in touch.