Western Circuit

Bar None

Bar None was set up in 2020 with the following mission:

Mission Statement

The bar should be inclusive and represent the society it serves.

  1. This group is formed to encourage the strongest possible applications from under-represented groups on the Western Circuit with a particular focus upon those from state school and BAME backgrounds.
  2. At the present time there is a lack of diversity across Circuit and a rich pool of untapped talent lost to the Bar and the future judiciary.
  3. Through a process of education, mentoring and outreach work this group aims to encourage participation and retention of pupils and qualified barristers from state school and BAME backgrounds.

Bar None has a Steering Group of barristers of varying seniority and backgrounds who all practice across the circuit.

All members of the circuit are encouraged to be involved in Bar None’s activities.

Bar None launched a mentoring scheme in November 2020.

Bar None run important events across the circuit including webinars/seminars, training events as well as outreach work.

We work closely with other organisations including the Bar Council, the Inns, the Judiciary and organisations whose aims are centered around equality and diversity.  We truly believe there is one Bar for all.

Bar None’s mentoring scheme is open.  We are always happy to accept applications for mentors and mentees.

This new programme aims to connect inspiring individuals from the Western Circuit with students in a meaningful, structured programme.  The initiative will, we hope, increase diversity on the Western Circuit.

The programme is open to those seeking to become barristers on the Western Circuit who are at least 18 years of age. Applications forms for aspiring barristers can be found here.  Completed forms should be sent to barnone@westerncircuit.co.uk.

We encourage applications for mentors from barristers of any seniority and from any background currently practising on the Western Circuit.   The Application form for mentors can be found here.

The Steering Group is made up of like-minded barristers who practice across the circuit with varying seniority and backgrounds.  We regularly meet and are keen to keep driving the aims of Bar None forward.

Anjali Gohil … is actually named Pushpanjali but as that is so difficult to pronounce, she answers to most things.  Born in London, raised in Leicester, of Indian heritage with a diversion through East Africa she arrived on circuit 18 years ago, astonished at the lack of fellow brown and black faces.  Fed up with the lack of progress she persuaded this brilliant group of people to come together and set up Bar None, which she has the pleasure of chairing.

Ray Tully QC is a criminal practitioner at Guildhall Chambers in Bristol.  Council house boy made good.  Can’t believe (or accept) the lack of social mobility in the UK.  Still raging against the dying of the light…

Mary Aspinall was called to the bar in the previous millennia and is therefore justified and ancient with slow typing to match.  Mary spends an inordinate amount of time wondering how to keep her hair under control long enough to get it to stay put under her wig and where she put her house keys.  Her sons consider her a Goth but of course she denies this as she dresses up as Dracula to go to court.

She proudly fails the Tebbit Cricket test (#MenInMaroon,#Windies), still has her Trini nose for bacchanal, does not understand why avocados are so small in the UK  and refuses tequila shots.  Mary likes to maco people business on social media and is therefore a natural for our Social Media team.  Steups like a Champ.

Ethu Crorie was called to the Bar the year before blurays were even invented.  So, he’s well old.  He will do practically anything for money but is mainly seen wandering into Crown Courts to participate in criminal cases.  He spends every grand night trying to persuade people to do tequila shots.  He will use any excuse to wear a kilt.  He has three kids who aren’t, in any way, embarrassed by his hilarious dad antics despite what they frequently say.  He is somehow in charge of the Bar None mentoring programme.

Sunyana Sharma is that inquest, professional disciplinary and maritime barrister from 3PB whose name no one can pronounce.  If you think her name’s confusing then don’t get started on her heritage – Indian girl from Sidcup whose folks are from Kenya.  She can just about manage her practice, kid and dog but they decided to put her in charge of the schools’ outreach programme.

Tahina Akther is a Chancery and Family Finance practitioner who is Northerner with Southern children.  Somehow, perhaps because of her geeky nature, she runs the webinars and tech for the group.  Coming from a northern steel town and a child of immigrant parents, she is passionate about social mobility at the Bar.

Ellen McAnaw is a barrister specialising in crime.  She qualified as a solicitor in 2015 before being called to the Bar in 2018.

Tom Faulkner is a criminal and family law barrister at Colleton Chambers in Exeter.  He was called to the bar in 2018.  Tom grew up in the South Wales Valleys and is passionate about encouraging more state schooled students to pursue a career at the bar like he did.

Tagbo Ilozue tried his hand at medicine, scientific research, teaching, conducting, and even some accounting before he became a barrister.  You might describe his route to the bar as indirect, meandering, maybe even a little tortuous (or should that be “tortured”?)  Having finally arrived, there is nowhere else he would rather be, and he is keen to help as many other people as possible see what a lovely job this can be, regardless of your background, or how long it may take you to find your way.

Sam Castlehouse is a family and criminal barrister from KBG Chambers in Plymouth.  He was once a small kid from state school and is now a small kid at the Bar, and is passionate about social mobility.

Poonam Pattni practices at 12CP Chambers in Southampton in the areas of planning, housing and civil law.  She was called in 2010.  Poonam is keen to encourage diversity and retention in the profession  She’s always up for a chat about skeleton arguments and sleep training toddlers.

Edd Hetherington is a specialist criminal and regulatory advocate from Sunderland and practices in Bristol at Albion Chambers.  Being from a state school and with an accent he knows what it’s like to be different but didn’t let it hold him back.

Bar None has asked sets of chambers on the Western Circuit to aim for at least 50% of mini pupillages to be awarded to those from State school and/or BAME backgrounds.  This has been well received with many sets signed up.  A list of the chambers signed up are as follows:

– College Chambers, Southampton
– Albion Chambers, Bristol & Taunton
– St John’s Chambers, Bristol
– Magdalen Chambers, Exeter
– Guildhall Chambers, London & Bristol
– Devon Chambers, Plymouth
– 2KBW, London & Portsmouth
– 3PB,  (London, Winchester, Bournemouth, Bristol, Oxford and Birmingham)
– 12 College Place (Southampton)

   

Please check our twitter feeds and Linkedin pages for regular updates.

If you have been following us on Twitter you will have read fuller introductions to member of the steering groups.  With Mary’s wit, the twitter feeds will keep you informed and entertained.

Below are just some of our past and forthcoming events and news:

“Here there and Everywhere” – webinar by HHJ Townsend and barrister Ali Rafferty – for students, about routes to the Bar and beyond.

Webinar: M Justice Choudhury a Path to the Bench.
Sir Akhlaq Choudhary became the first British- Bangladeshi Muslim to be appointed to the High Court of Justice in 2017 and is now the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

October 2020: Bar None feature in Counsel Magazine on the article “Bar None changing the face of justice” authored by Chair of Bar None, Anjali Gohil and committee member Sunyana Sharma.

A webinar with HHJ Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol.  A presentation to encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds  applying for judicial posts.

March 2020:  Steering Group member Sunyana Sharma features in Counsel magazine on article “Breaking moulds”.

To request more information or for any enquries    Contact Us

Western Circuit