A charity which supports barristers in need handed out almost £850,000 last year to help practitioners survive the pandemic.

The Barristers Benevolent Association (BBA) raised £1.2m for its Covid-19 fund – £400,000 of which was provided by the Inns of Court – and £846,810 was given to ‘needy applicants’. By the end of 2020, 157 beneficiaries had received financial help, together with 94 of their dependents.

In total, the BBA provided £1.25m in grants and loans in 2020 (including assistance unrelated to Covid-19) up from £392,614 the previous year. Meanwhile, its annual income rose from £569,537 to £1.84m year-on-year, and its total funds now stand at £12.92m, up from £12.09m.

Barrister wig

The Barristers Benevolent Association raised £1.2m for its Covid-19 hardship fund

Source: Alamy

Despite the surge in pandemic donations, however, the charity said its income from donations is ‘generally in a modest decline and we are trying to address this issue’. It added that there are ‘fewer and fewer regulator subscribers to the association’.

The Solicitors’ Charity, formerly known as the Solicitors Benevolent Association, also dealt with ‘many more’ lawyers in need or crisis in 2020 than in previous years. According to its annual accounts, the charity supported three times as many new solicitors in 2020 than in 2019, with beneficiaries receiving over £1.25m in grants and payments for services, 35% more than in 2019.

Earlier this year, the Solicitors’ Charity pledged to widen access to support. In addition to helping solicitors and their dependents deal with health or disability issues, or advancing age, the charity said it will also tackle the challenges of having reduced or no work.