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Sir Ernest Ryder, Senior President of Tribunals, Caroline Wilson, Former British Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macao, and the President of the Malaysian Bar and Chairman of the Bar Council in Malaysia, Steven Thiru, have been announced as the keynote speakers for the 31st Annual Bar & Young Bar Conference on 15 October 2016 in London.

Steven Thiruwill fly in from Malaysia to give the closing keynote speech at the conference at Westminster Park Plaza, the theme of which is Raising the Bar: Innovation and global opportunity for a forward thinking profession. Sir Ernest will open the conference, which is the main event on the Bar's calendar. Caroline Wilson will give the keynote speech to the Young Bar Conference.  

Chantal-Aimee Doerries QC, Chairman of the Bar, said: "If ever there was a time for the Bar to come together and share its collective knowledge and prepare for the future it is now. Innovation at the Bar and widening the profession's global reach is now more important than ever. It is therefore fitting that we not only have a senior member of the judiciary who is at the heart of our justice modernisation programme as a keynote speaker, we also have a prominent international Bar leader."

Gerard McDermott QC, Chairman of this year's Bar & Young Bar Conference, said: "Given the theme of this year's conference, the desire to move towards a more modern justice system and the increasingly strong international ties the Bar of England & Wales has, Sir Ernest and Steven are ideal keynote speakers for this year's conference. We have a rich programme of sessions for delegates lined up throughout the day and I have no doubt the keynote speakers will complement the days' proceedings."

Louisa Nye, Chairman of the Young Bar, said: "While this year has seen a great deal of change, technologically in the Courts and globally following Brexit, these changes provide new opportunities to young barristers. The Young Bar Conference is an excellent event for young barristers to inform themselves and equip themselves to develop promising careers. Given Caroline Wilson's experience of a number of different jurisdictions and her time as Consul-General in Hong Kong, I am incredibly pleased that she has agreed to give the keynote speech for the Young Bar."

Sir Ernestwas called to the Bar in 1981 and appointed Queen's Counsel in 1997. He became a Recorder in 2000. He was appointed a High Court judge, and assigned to the Family Division in 2004. He was the judge in charge of the family modernisation review in 2012. He was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2013.

Caroline Wilsonserved as British Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macao from October 2012 to September 2016. She qualified as a Barrister before joining the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1995. A speaker of Russian, as well as Chinese, she worked on Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia before full time Mandarin study and her first posting to Beijing in 1997. Her portfolio included the Hong Kong post-1997 handover, and human rights. In 2001 Caroline served as First Secretary in the UK's Permanent Representation to the European Union, drawing on her Master's degree in European Community law to advise on UK negotiating tactics in European summits. From 2004-2006 Caroline was Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary, where she worked on a wide range of foreign policy issues. She then moved on secondment to the Cabinet Office where as a Deputy Director she coordinated Whitehall policy on EU issues.

Steven Thiruis a senior litigation partner of Messrs Shook Lin & Bok in Kuala Lumpur. He has been in practice for 24 years and his main areas of practice are administrative law, employment law, electricity supply law, native title law and a variety of areas of civil litigation. He read law at the University of Leicester and graduated in 1990. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales at Middle Temple in 1991, and was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in 1992. He obtained LL.M degree from the University of Malaya in 2000.

Places are still available to attend this year's conference. More details can be found at


Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and

  2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board