The Bar Council has for the first time made membership available to chambers as well as individuals in a move reflecting the changing shape of the profession. The representative body said it made the move after feedback revealed that chambers staff, including clerks and managers, wanted to take part in training courses and events previously open only to barristers.

The Bar Council said it hopes the annual chambers membership launched today will encourage greater take-up of the specialist courses it puts together, for example on data protection law. The membership package also includes training on anti-money laundering, equality and diversity, practice management and direct access work. Prices range from £3,000 for a standard membership to £5,950 for a gold membership.

Council chief executive Malcolm Cree said the move is part of the Bar Council’s drive to work more closely with chambers to 'strengthen and better support and promote the profession'.

The membership package was developed in collaboration with members of the Legal Professionals Management Association (LPMA). LPMA co-chairs Catherine Calder and Robin Jackson said: ‘The LPMA is pleased to see this initiative being put into place: it has been developed through close consultation with the profession and brings greater currency and relevance to the services offered to individual barristers and now, importantly, to the chambers in which they practice.’