Research data from Barristers’ Working Lives (the Bar Council’s biennial survey of the profession), as well as reports to Talk to Spot and calls to the Bar Council’s helplines, evidence a long-term problem with bullying and harassment, as well as inappropriate and undermining behaviour, which needs to be addressed.
This report draws on new data from the Barristers' Working Lives survey 2023 and Talk to Spot data from 2019-2023 and makes three recommendations:
- The Bar should approach bullying, harassment and discrimination as a systemic issue that requires a response across the whole profession. We hope the judiciary, clerks, chambers professionals and the Inns can work together with the Bar Council to bring about the culture shift that is needed.
- The Bar Council should commission a review to be established by Spring 2024 and to report by Spring 2025 to: (i) consider the impact of different types of bullying, harassment and discrimination on barristers, their staff, and clients; (ii) identify improvements to existing reporting and other processes when these behaviours are experienced and complaints are made; and (iii) consider effective prevention and mitigating strategies.
- In the meantime, the Bar Council should ensure existing resources (helplines, guidance, advice, and support) are available and are easily accessible for those who need them and, in particular, continue to promote the Talk to Spot tool that allows complaints to be logged, and logged anonymously if that is what the complainant wants to do.
Read the full report
Open in your browser: Bullying harassment and discrimination at the Bar December 2023 (PDF)
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