11 Aug 2022

Kilkenny woman is new Chair of Bar Council


Sara Phelan SC

Kilkenny woman Sara Phelan has been elected to lead the group representing practising barristers in Ireland, for the coming year.

As Chair of the Council of the Bar of Ireland, Ms Phelan will lead the organisation from September.
Sara was called to the Bar in 1996, having previously qualified and practised as a pharmacist for a number of years, qualifying from Trinity College Dublin (1988).

Sara was appointed Senior Counsel and called to the Inner Bar in 2013. A qualified mediator and arbitrator, Sara was admitted to the Bar of England & Wales in 2019 and is a member of Middle Temple.

On her election, she said: “I am honoured to lead the Council of The Bar of Ireland over the coming year. As a profession, we now stand at an inflection point in respect of reasserting the importance of the Independent Referral Bar and its role in providing access to justice, advancing a human rights approach, and to the rule of law. This is a message that I hope to drive forward across the legal sector, and with our stakeholders.

“The recent EY Report on the Future Landscape for Barrister Services is a call to the profession to continue to adapt and respond to a changing environment, while holding true to our values and commitment to justice. I look forward to driving innovation, diversity and promotion of the profession in my term ahead.

“Vital aspects of integrity, training and the regulation of our profession should give confidence to the public and others of our unique value. In addition, they should be developed in continuing to attract and retain the talent and expertise that equips the Bar to thrive into the future”, she added.

Sara follows in the footsteps of Maura McNally SC. “I’d like to pay particular thanks to my predecessor Maura, who has held the interests and advancement of the Bar intact over what was a tumultuous period. Her resolve on the role of barristers in respect of access to justice, and the rule of law will endure, and influence our continuing work.”

Sara’s practice spans South Eastern Circuit and Dublin, with a broad High Court practice that includes personal injury law, child/family law, crime, judicial review/non-jury, chancery, probate and mental health law.

Among other voluntary positions, Sara is an elected member of the current Council of the Bar of Ireland and is Chair of the Bar of Ireland Professional Practices Committee and the Law & Women Mentoring Committee.

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