The Inns of Court will provide hardship funds to support pupils and junior barristers during the pandemic, while an emergency fund for barristers in urgent financial need will be available soon, it has been announced.

In a statement, the four Inns of Court said they are working urgently on a package of measures to assist barristers who are most in need. An emergency fund by the Barristers’ Benevolent Association (BBA) will be introduced ‘imminently’ and hardship funds are also being created by each of the Inns. The latter are designed primarily to assist pupils and other junior barristers who are not eligible for either the government assistance for the self-employed or for help from the BBA.

Last week, a survey by the Bar Council suggested that over half of barristers’ chambers will not survive the next six months without financial aid if the pandemic persists, while 81% will collapse within a year under the current pressures.

According to the representative body, a survey of 145 heads of chambers shows that 55% of all chambers cannot survive six months without financial aid if the current circumstances continue. The criminal bar is the hardest hit, with 90% of chambers predicting they will fold after 12 months without more financial support.