Bar of Northern Ireland
The Bar of Northern Ireland, or Northern Irish Bar, is the association of barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

s for Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, comprising as at September 2007 just under 600 members.

It is based in the Bar Library, part of the Royal Courts of Justice
Royal Courts of Justice, Belfast
The Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast is the home of the Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland established under the Judicature Act 1978. This comprises the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal, High Court of Northern Ireland and the Crown Court in Northern Ireland...

 in Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

, together with the Bar Council of Northern Ireland (the professional body of the members of the Northern Irish Bar), and the Executive Council.

The Executive Council has taken on many of the functions formerly exercised by the Bencher
A bencher or Master of the Bench is a senior member of an Inn of Court in England and Wales. Benchers hold office for life once elected. A bencher can be elected while still a barrister , in recognition of the contribution that the barrister has made to the life of the Inn or to the law...

s of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland, which was established at a meeting of the Bench and Bar held on 11 January 1926.

Before 1920, there was no separate Bar of Northern Ireland: barristers were called either to the Irish Bar or the Bar of England and Wales. After the Government of Ireland Act 1920
Government of Ireland Act 1920
The Government of Ireland Act 1920 was the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which partitioned Ireland. The Act's long title was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill or as the Fourth Home Rule Act.The Act was intended...

, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is the head of the judiciary in Northern Ireland, presiding over the Courts of Northern Ireland. The present Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is Sir Declan Morgan...

 called members of the Bar to the Inner Bar in Northern Ireland as King's Counsel.

From 11 January 1926 there were:
  1. the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland governed by the Benchers of the Inn; and
  2. the Bar Council.

The present constitution was adopted on 5 October 1983, and also governs the Bar of Northern Ireland and the Bar Council.

For many years the Inn of Court was a rather theoretical body, lacking as it did the physical premises for social and professional interaction provided by the comparable Inns of Court
Inns of Court
The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. All such barristers must belong to one such association. They have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members. The Inns also provide libraries, dining facilities and professional...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 or the King's Inns
King's Inns
The Honorable Society of King's Inns , is the institution which controls the entry of barristers-at-law into the justice system of Ireland...

 on Constitution Hill in Dublin. The redevelopment of the Bar Library, officially opened by Her Excellency Professor Mary McAleese, The President of Ireland
Mary McAleese
Mary Patricia McAleese served as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011. She was the second female president and was first elected in 1997 succeeding Mary Robinson, making McAleese the world's first woman to succeed another as president. She was re-elected unopposed for a second term in...

, on 29 April 2005, to provide not only enhanced library facilities but also suitable rooms for Continuing Professional Development
Continuing Professional Development
Continuing professional development or Continuing professional education is the means by which people maintain their knowledge and skills related to their professional lives.-CPD research:...

, meetings, dining and receptions, has afforded the Inn the means of providing the Northern Irish Bar with the reality of association it had hitherto been lacking.

See also

Members of the Bar of Northern Ireland


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