New South Wales Bar Association – childcare arrangements for members


Practice support

A core objective at the Bar is to assist members with the challenges of being a sole practitioner. Foremost among those is balancing obligations to courts, to clients and to their families.

For many years the Bar Association has, through a management agreement with Guardian Childcare and Education (Guardian), reserved the equivalent of five full-time enrolments at The Pavilion Early Learning Centre in Phillip Street and at Little Steps in Bligh Street. Immediately prior to the pandemic, the Bar Family Care scheme was fully utilised.

However, since the first lockdown in March 2020, fewer barristers have been coming into chambers every day of the week and many Bar families have enrolled their children in centres closer to home. Consequently, the scheme became under-utilised, with little or no prospect that it could once again be financially sustainable.

On 28 October 2021 the Bar Council made the difficult decision to terminate the management agreement with Guardian and to replace it with a more flexible service that better suited the changing needs of Bar families.

The Bar Council is aware that a significant number of barristers experience clashes between court commitments and family care responsibilities, particularly when children are sick and cannot attend childcare.

In late 2019 the Bar Council approved a proposal to replace the reserved places scheme with in-home emergency care for children and elderly parents. The service was ready to be launched, but had to be suspended because of public health regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is hoped that the Bar Association will be in a position to re-launch the emergency in-home care service in 2022.

Parents with children currently enrolled with Guardian will be unaffected by the change. For further information, please contact Chris Winslow at or 9229 1732.

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