Barristers launch equality, diversity and inclusion directory

December 2, 2021

Nine barristers from the inaugural Bar Council Leadership Programme have launched the Bar’s first ever Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Directory.

The Directory provides an up-to-date resource, setting out guidance, clearly and in one place, for use by barristers, Chambers and others, on a wide range of essential topics, to encourage the profession to adopt and embrace improved practices.

Split into 11 key areas of equality, diversity and inclusion, the chapters provide an overview, set out the applicable minimum legislative and regulatory standards, draw together resources from existing initiatives, highlight other commendable practices beyond the Bar and provide an overview of themes and best practices.

The Directory is available to download from the Bar Council’s website here.

The nine authors of the directory are Laura Bayley (Crucible), Bo Kay Fung (Financial Conduct Authority), Chris Gutteridge (Exchange Chambers), Narinder Jhittay (Maitland Chambers), Khadija Leuenberger (36 Stone, part of The 36 Group), Francesca O’Neill (1 Chancery Lane), Lydia Pemberton (3 Paper Buildings), Andrew Powell (4 Paper Buildings) and Susanna Rickard (Serjeants’ Inn Chambers).

Derek Sweeting QC, Chair of the Bar, said:

“A lot of work has gone into the publication of this new guide: it is great to see members of the profession taking their own initiative in drawing together information, for the benefit of their colleagues, on protected characteristics, bullying and harassment, as well as the fair allocation of work and recruitment.

“The Bar Council encourages interventions aimed at improving equality, diversity and inclusion at the Bar.”

Commenting on the launch of the directory, Chris Gutteridge from Exchange Chambers said:

“After 12 months of drafting and preparation we are delighted to launch our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Directory.

“The basic requirements in the equality legislation and the BSB’s Equality and Diversity rules provide the minimum standards that all Chambers must adopt to avoid unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and failure to make reasonable adjustments.  However, these requirements are a bare minimum and much more is required to demonstrate a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. The Bar can, and should, aim much higher. Only by doing so can it harness its true potential.

“The directory is intended to act as a substantial time-saver for any stakeholder in the profession seeking to obtain an overarching perspective of the requirements and action needed to achieve a positive shift in the Bar’s culture.

“Importantly, it is hoped that it will assist Chambers in adopting greater measures across the spectrum in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion at the Bar.

“Whilst there can never be a uniform approach to achieving this objective, the guiding principles that follow may assist in paving the way.”

The equality, diversity and inclusion directory is the latest positive initiative to come out of the Bar Council’s Leadership Programme.

Earlier this year, Bo Kay Fung (Financial Conduct Authority), Chris Gutteridge (Exchange Chambers), Lydia Pemberton (3 Paper Buildings) and Morayo Fagborun Bennett (Gatehouse Chambers) – launched their All Rise initiative, a project inviting the Bar to step up and actively create a better culture for all barristers. All Rise aims to encourage barristers across all practice areas and levels of call to be ‘active bystanders’ – speaking out and standing against abusive, bullying and belittling behaviour.

The team behind All Rise designed and produced a pin badge that barristers are wearing in chambers or at their place of work and at court as a symbol of allyship. The pin is a sign to others that the wearer will use whatever power they have in a given situation to stand against unacceptable behaviour and act in support of those in need.