ALBA is the professional association for barristers in England and Wales practising in ‘public law’ – a term which includes administrative law, constitutional law, judicial review, freedom of information, and other areas of practice concerned with regulating the exercise of public powers.
We are a specialist association of the Bar Council and work closely with them, and with the Bar’s regional Circuits, to promote access to justice and the concerns of public law practitioners.
As well as self-employed barristers in England and Wales, our members include employed barristers working in the UK Government Legal Service, local authorities, businesses, and campaigning organisations and other NGOs. Our wider membership includes (as associate members) judges, solicitors, legal academics, law students, and lawyers in other jurisdictions. One of ALBA’s principal objectives is to provide a forum for exchanges, between judges, practising lawyers and academic lawyers, of knowledge and ideas about the development of public law, including in the context of developments in public law jurisprudence and practice across the common law world and within the European Union.
We also seek to cultivate and to nurture the next generation of public law practitioners, by actively welcoming law students and pupil barristers to participate fully in all our events, and by running an annual seminar series specifically for new practitioners.
We have a busy programme of events. In July each year we hold our annual residential conference over a weekend, full of presentations by leading barristers and legal academics about the latest developments in public law, and also including a gala dinner. In October or November each year, there is our annual lecture, which is given by a senior judge or similar figure. We also organise multiple evening seminars throughout the year about topical public law issues. Apart from the annual conference, our events are usually free of charge, though those intending to attend are asked to pre-register through our website.
Regular newsletters are sent to all members by post or email.
We work hard to be inclusive of all our members, including those based outside London. We invite the leaders of the Circuits to nominate representatives to our committee. We have held events in Birmingham, Cardiff and elsewhere, and it is sometimes possible for our events in London to be simultaneously broadcast at other locations by video-link.
ALBA is an accredited provider of Continuing Education with the Bar Standards Board, and our events make an important contribution to satisfying many barristers’ and solicitors’ annual continuing professional development requirements.
ALBA, as a Specialist Bar Association, has a permanent representative on the Bar Council. Every year we respond to a number of consultations by the Ministry of Justice and other organisations about matters affecting public law practice and procedure.
Please join us – we could not exist without the generous support of our members.