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Hannah Alfon
Hannah Alfon

Bar Council ID Card: A Guide for Barristers and Other Professional Court Users


How to Download a Bar Council ID Card and Why You Need One




If you are a barrister or a professional court user, you may have heard of the Bar Council ID Card, a digital identity card that allows you to access courts and tribunals without having to go through security checks. But what is it exactly, how do you get one, and how do you download it to your device? In this article, we will answer these questions and more, so you can enjoy the benefits of this scheme.


What is a Bar Council ID Card and What are its Benefits?




A secure digital identity card for barristers and other professional court users




A Bar Council ID Card is a secure digital identity card that you can download to your smartphone or tablet, or print as a PDF. It comes with a unique QR code that contains your name, photo, organisation, and expiry date. The QR code can be scanned by court security staff to confirm your identity and allow you to enter without further security checks.




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A fast and convenient way to access courts and tribunals without security checks




One of the main benefits of having a Bar Council ID Card is that it saves you time and hassle when visiting courts and tribunals. You don't have to queue up for security checks, show your bags or belongings, or remove your coat or jacket. You can simply show your card at the entrance and walk in. This can help you avoid delays, stress, and inconvenience, especially during busy times of the day.


A membership scheme run by HMCTS and the Bar Council




The Bar Council ID Card is part of the Professional Users' Court and Tribunal Access Scheme, an initiative run by HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) and the Bar Council. The scheme is intended to reduce the time barristers and other professional court users spend passing through security at courts. The scheme is open to qualified lawyers who routinely attend courts and tribunals, such as barristers, solicitors, CPS members, mediators, arbitrators, etc.


How to Apply for a Bar Council ID Card and What are the Requirements?




Eligibility criteria for different categories of applicants




To apply for a Bar Council ID Card, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria depending on your category of profession. The following organisations are currently participating in the scheme:



  • The Bar Council: You need to be a practising barrister who is registered with the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and has paid the annual practising certificate fee.



  • The London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association (LCCSA) and Criminal Law Solicitors Association (CLSA): You need to be a solicitor with a practising certificate who is registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and has paid the annual practising fee.



  • The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS): You need to be a CPS member who is authorised by your line manager to join the scheme.



Other organisations may join the scheme in the future, subject to approval by HMCTS and the Bar Council. You can check the latest list of participating organisations on the Bar Council website.


Application process and procedure for different organisations




The application process and procedure for a Bar Council ID Card may vary slightly depending on your organisation. However, the general steps are as follows:



  • Fill in an online application form on the Bar Council website or your organisation's website. You will need to provide your personal details, contact details, professional details, and a digital photo.



  • Pay a one-off application fee of 10 by debit or credit card. This fee covers the cost of administering the scheme and issuing the card. The fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.



  • Wait for your application to be processed and verified by your organisation and the Bar Council. This may take up to 10 working days.



  • Receive an email confirmation with a link to download your Bar Council ID Card as a PDF or an app. You can also access your card through the Bar Council website or your organisation's website.



Rules for digital photos and verification of identity




To ensure the security and integrity of the scheme, you need to follow some rules when submitting your digital photo and verifying your identity. The rules are:



  • Your photo must be a recent and true likeness of yourself, taken within the last six months.



  • Your photo must be in colour, clear, and in focus, with no red-eye, glare, or shadows.



  • Your photo must show your full head and shoulders, facing forward and looking straight at the camera, with a neutral expression and your mouth closed.



  • Your photo must have a plain white or light grey background, with no other people or objects in the picture.



  • Your photo must not have any filters, effects, or alterations applied to it.



  • Your photo must meet the technical specifications for size, format, and resolution specified on the application form.



  • You must verify your identity by providing a copy of your passport, driving licence, or other acceptable form of identification. The copy must be clear and legible, and match the details on your application form.



How to Renew or Replace a Bar Council ID Card and What are the Fees?




Renewal process and deadline for existing card holders




A Bar Council ID Card is valid for three years from the date of issue. You will need to renew your card before it expires if you want to continue using it. The renewal process is similar to the application process, except that you do not need to pay another fee or verify your identity again. You will need to:


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  • Fill in an online renewal form on the Bar Council website or your organisation's website. You will need to provide your personal details, contact details, professional details, and a new digital photo.



  • Wait for your renewal to be processed and verified by your organisation and the Bar Council. This may take up to 10 working days.



  • Receive an email confirmation with a link to download your new Bar Council ID Card as a PDF or an app. You can also access your new card through the Bar Council website or your organisation's website.



You should renew your card at least one month before it expires to avoid any disruption to your access to courts and tribunals. You will receive a reminder email from the Bar Council or your organisation when your card is due for renewal.


Replacement process and fee for lost or damaged cards




If you lose or damage your Bar Council ID Card, you can request a replacement card by contacting the Bar Council or your organisation. You will need to:



  • Report the loss or damage of your card as soon as possible by emailing idcards@barcouncil.org.uk or calling 020 7611 1329.



  • Pay a replacement fee of 10 by debit or credit card. This fee covers the cost of administering the scheme and issuing the new card. The fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.



  • Wait for your replacement to be processed and verified by your organisation and the Bar Council. This may take up to 10 working days.



  • Receive an email confirmation with a link to download your new Bar Council ID Card as a PDF or an app. You can also access your new card through the Bar Council website or your organisation's website.



You should request a replacement card as soon as possible to avoid any disruption to your access to courts and tribunals. You will receive a confirmation email from the Bar Council or your organisation when your new card is ready.


Conditions of entry and random screenings for scheme members




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