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The current Vice Chairman of the Bar Council, Desmond Browne QC of 5 Raymond Buildings, has been elected Chairman for 2009. Mr Browne, who chaired the Bar's Working Group on the Clementi Report and the Legal Services Act, will take up the post on 1 January 2009.
Desmond Browne QC was called to the Bar in 1969 and took silk in 1990. The following year he was appointed a Recorder. He is one of the most highly regarded names in all areas of media law and, in a career spanning 30 years, has acted in such significant cases as Naomi Campbell v. Mirror Group in the House of Lords in 2004.
Mr Browne QC is joint head of chambers (with Adrienne Page QC) of 5 Raymond Buildings, the renowned media and entertainment law set. He read law at New College, Oxford, where he was an Open Scholar.
The Chairman of the Bar Council in 2008, Tim Dutton QC commented today on Mr Browne QC's election: "It has been a busy year for the Bar Council with work on matters ranging from public funding to our international agenda. The government has passed and has in progress a raft of legislative initiatives of interest and, in some cases, concern to members of the Bar. In all of this, I have been working closely with Desmond Browne as Vice Chairman. He is a barrister of real distinction, and will provide wise counsel and leadership for the profession. I have every confidence that the Bar Council will build on its work in the course of 2008 and I wish him the very best of luck."
Desmond Browne QC commented today on his election: "The Chairmanship of the Bar is a great honour, but at the same time a formidable challenge. Publicly funded practitioners are under greater threat than ever before, with cuts to both criminal and family fees and the prospect of price competitive tendering. The profession as a whole is also having to confront the new models of practice envisaged as the Legal Services Board sets to work. I am exceptionally lucky in being able to build on all Tim Dutton's hard work in 2008. I know that I can count on every member of the profession, whether employed or self-employed, to help me ensure that access to justice for all remains the Bar's paramount concern."
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