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Who's Who

Life Insurance Scheme

Who's Who

Life Insurance Scheme

Life Insurance Scheme

The scheme dates back almost 20 years. It has its origins in the death of a young Sheffield practitioner who was uninsured and who left a wife and young family. The scheme has been invaluable over the years and many dependents have had cause to be grateful for its existence. The scheme changed from voluntary to compulsory for all members of Circuit on 1st September 2017.  The scheme is for barristers only, Judges are not eligible to join.  Death benefit of £100,000.  Life Insurance premiums are collected with Circuit subscriptions on 1st September each year by direct debit from members by the Circuit Office. Our Scheme Brokers are Towergate and the Insurer is AIG Limited.


Andrew Axon


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Caroline Goodwin QC


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Catherine Souter


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Gordon Stables


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Summary of the North Eastern Circuit Bar Group Life Assurance Scheme


The North Eastern Circuit (NEC) has established a group life insurance scheme (the Scheme) with effect from 1 September 2017.  This is a compulsory Scheme which replaces the previous voluntary scheme.

As part of the benefits of membership of the NEC Bar, members are also automatically added to the Scheme.


All Barristers who are full subscribing members of the NEC Bar are automatically entered into the life insurance Scheme.  Retired members of the NEC Bar are not included in the Scheme.

If you are in a non-practising role but are still a subscribing member of the NEC Bar then you may be included in the Scheme but special conditions may be applied by the insurance company.  You should contact the Circuit Administrator ( to check whether you need to take any action.  Do not assume that your cover is in place.

Existing Judges (as at 1 September 2017) are not eligible for the Scheme unless they were already insured under the previous voluntary life insurance scheme, in which case their cover has been maintained under the new Scheme

Any Barristers who are members of the Scheme on or after 1 September 2017 who subsequently become Judges may retain their existing cover under the Scheme provided they remain a subscribing member of the NEC Bar.

The minimum age is 16 and the maximum age is 69.  Cover ceases when you reach age 70.

Joining the Scheme

All practising Barristers who were subscribing members of the NEC Bar were entered into the Scheme on 1 September 2017.

Any new members of the NEC Bar will be added to the Scheme when they join the NEC Bar.  This can only take place at the Grand Court sessions in March, June or October each year.  Cover under the scheme will be effective on the date of the Grand Court session that you join.

The insurer applies special rules to Barristers who are not joining the NEC Bar at their first opportunity i.e. not later than the first Grand Court session after you have obtained a tenancy.  If you join the NEC Bar after your first opportunity to do so then the insurer will treat you as a “late entrant” and you will need to provide medical evidence before they can accept your cover.  Following this medical underwriting the insurer reserves the right to decline your cover or charge additional premiums for your cover.

Leaving the Scheme

If you cease your NEC Bar membership then your life insurance cover under the Scheme will also cease.  If you subsequently reapply to join NEC Bar membership then your insurance will be subject to the insurer’s medical underwriting requirements.

Benefit level

Should you die whilst a member of the Scheme then the Scheme will pay a tax free cash benefit of £100,000 to your beneficiaries.

You can nominate who you would like to receive the benefit by using the insurer’s online beneficiary nomination facility or by notifying the Circuit Administrator (  You should ensure that you update your beneficiary list if your circumstances change in the future.

This is an insured benefit and the amount of claim will be limited to the amount the insurer pays. Although there are rarely any complications with life insurance claims, the NEC will not pay any shortfall should the full claim not be paid by the insurer for any reason.


The aim of the Scheme is to provide simple and cost-effective life insurance cover for NEC Bar members.  The annual premium will be advised to you as part of your renewal subscription correspondence.

Temporary absence from work

If you are temporarily absent from work then your cover under the Scheme can continue in certain circumstances:

a) If you are absent due to illness then your cover would continue until you reached age 70

b) If you are absent for non-illness reasons (e.g. sabbatical leave) then your cover would continue for a maximum of three years.  Cover beyond three years’ absence may be possible at the discretion of the insurer but you will need to specifically request this and medical underwriting may be needed.

You must maintain your full NEC Bar membership throughout your absence or your cover will cease.

Definitive Documentation

This Scheme is governed by the Definitive Documentation and the insurer’s policy conditions.  This document is intended as a summary of the general rules but does not seek to replace the formal documentation.  In the event of any discrepancy between this summary and the formal documentation then the formal documentation will prevail.


If you have any questions about this benefit please contact the Circuit Administrator in the first instance.

The Trustees

Contact Details:

Circuit Administrator – Suzy Trott:

As at 1st September 2017