Equality and Diversity
At Exchange Chambers we are committed to promoting equal opportunities for all, including members, pupils, employees and applicants to Chambers. We do not discriminate against anyone on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, disability, age, religion or belief or indeed, on any other ground. That said, we are alive to the risk of institutional bias and are committed to learning how to identify and eradicate areas in which there may be a risk of that occurring. We welcome and encourage any suggestions which help us on our learning journey.
This principle extends to our recruitment practices, the treatment of members, pupils and staff in chambers and the service we provide to our clients.
Chambers has a detailed Equality and Diversity policy which is regularly reviewed by the Equality and Diversity committee.
To view our Diversity Data (last updated January 2021), please click here.
Enquiries regarding the Diversity Data or our approach to equality and diversity should be made to our Compliance Officer Neil Wright in the first instance.
You can view the new Equality and Human Rights Commission Report on Access to Justice here.
Access to the Profession
Chambers is aware of the challenges facing young people wishing to pursue a career in law. As a Chambers we are committed to supporting fair access to the Bar and aim to encourage aspiring barristers from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Our members frequently attend schools and partake in a variety of different schemes and initiatives that promote and encourage social mobility.
Chambers is positively looking to improve and increase our Black, Asian and ethnically diverse representation. We are a Partner Chamber in the Pegasus Access and Support Scheme (PASS), a leading programme designed by the Inner Temple to support aspiring barristers from under-represented backgrounds who have not yet started the BPTC.
In a bid to increase access to the Bar, Exchange Chambers last year announced plans to launch a pupillage academy, where we will take on 6 pupils in September 2020 with a view to taking on all pupils at the culmination of pupillage. We have previously recruited 3 pupils per year.
Current and ongoing initiatives:
- We run a mentoring programme in association with L8 A Better Place, a community development project based at the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre in Toxteth, Liverpool. Twenty-two of our members are actively involved in the programme, in which they are assigned a student from the local community. The mentoring scheme is aimed at students and young people who are interested in pursuing a career in law and would otherwise lack access to the legal profession.
- Many of our Barristers assist with the Social Mobility Foundation and act as mentors to students from diverse backgrounds.
- Barristers regularly visit schools to provide informative talks on the profession, coordinate mock interviews for Pupillage and coordinate organised moots.
- Barristers regularly provide work experience, and have done so for a number of sixth form students from disadvantaged schools through the Sutton Trust and their Pathways to Law Programme, and the Northern Circuit Commercial Bar Association (NCCBA). As members of the committee of the NCCBA, our barristers arranged for Chambers to host each cohort of students for one of the three days and a number of members became involved with providing work experience.
- One of our barristers is a director of the Rainbow Multi Academy Trust, which runs 6 primary schools in Liverpool and Southport. The trust specialises in taking over failing schools and turning them around by sharing resources and skills across all the schools involved.
- Exchange Chambers has recently launched a maternity and parental support mentoring network for its members. The network will provide support for Chambers’ barristers during pregnancy, adoption or foster care, following the arrival of their child and in the lead up to and on return to practice or at any other stage of parenthood.
- We have a member that sits on the Bar Council’s Female Retention Committee who focus on ensuring equality and diversity at the Bar with a particular focus on female barristers, ensuring a level playing field and examining issues that may prevent female barristers continuing practise at the Bar or progressing within the profession.
- We have Barristers who are volunteer reviewers for the Bar Pro bono unit.
- Our Barristers speak at events promoting careers at the Bar for women. One of our female barristers spoke at the First 100 Years of Women in Law event, coordinated by the Crown Prosecution Service and Bar Council to mark the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, celebrating 100 years of women in law.