Dr Vanessa Davies has been the Director (chief executive) of the Bar Standards Board since December 2010. Vanessa was previously the Director of Operations and deputy Chief Executive at Refugee and Migrant Justice, which was one of the largest legal aid charities in the UK. She was responsible, inter alia, for professional training, standards and compliance for some 220 accredited paralegals and caseworkers, as well as RMJ’s solicitors and barristers. She is a non-practising barrister (Inner Temple, 2007), but started her working life as an academic linguist.
Vanessa has previously been a British Academy Post Doctoral Fellow in French at King’s College London and then went on to become Director of the KCL Language Centre, establishing it as one of the leading centres in the UK for applied language studies. She then spent nearly a decade at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As a linguist, she contributed to national and international policy developments and to standard setting for the interpreting and translation profession. She was subsequently a Group Director at the FCO, heading a directorate with some 350 specialist staff.
Vanessa was recruited to the Bar Standards Board under the rubric “Modernising the Bar”. She thinks she may be making some progress.