Equality and Diversity

The Bar Council offers a confidential equality and diversity helpline to all pupils and members of the Bar. The direct line telephone number is 020 7611 1320.

Our team can provide assistance as follows:

For individuals, we can provide confidential support and advice to members of the profession, staff and members of chambers, employed barristers, pupils and Bar students about any equality and diversity, parental leave or harassment issue.

For chambers, we can provide advice on:

1. Implementing all aspects of the Equality and Diversity Rules in the BSB Handbook

2. Making reasonable adjustments and making chambers and services accessible to people with disabilities

3. Handling complaints and supporting members and staff 

 

The Bar Council aims to promote equality and diversity across the Bar.

Our overarching vision (or aspiration) is: 'A profession representative of all and for all' and we work to 'identify and seek to address barriers and assumptions that (i) inhibit the progression of those with a protected characteristic into and within the profession; and (ii) individual access to justice'

Our objectives are:

  • To promote access to all practice areas of the bar, irrespective of background 
  • To work with chambers and practitioners to embed good practices which facilitate remaining in the profession and increase retention 
  • To encourage all barristers (with protected characteristics) in career development, including towards the Judiciary and Silk 
  • To encourage efforts that seek to ensure the profile of the Bar is reflected at all stages of seniority and amongst the judiciary 
  • To better communicate the profession's commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion to all stakeholders 
  • To help create an inclusive working environment where all Bar Council staff and committee members are able to flourish 
  • To keep under review law reform and wider developments that might disadvantage those with protected characteristics 

Barristers and chambers can also access the latest Equality & Diversity Guidance 


Our priorities are:

Access to the profession                    

 (particularly for those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds)

Retention 

(particularly for women/those with caring responsibilities and for others as a result of current funding cuts across the profession)

Progression to Silk and into the Judiciary

 (particularly for women and ethnic minorities - based on available data)


Our work is:

  • Evidence-Based (everything we do is underpinned by an empirical case for intervention) 
  • With the Profession (we aim to increase the numbers of barristers who are committed to E&D and who support our work) 
  • Across the jurisdiction of England and Wales (we do not confine activity to London and the SE). 
  • In Partnership (we work with colleagues across Bar Council and continue to develop partnerships externally with organisations whose interests align with our own in order to maximise our impact). 
  • Robustly Evaluated


For more information about Equality & Diversity at the Bar, contact Sam Mercer.