The Bar Council's Race Working Group

A new Bar Council Race Working Group was formed in June 2020 to report into our Equality Diversity and Social Mobility (EDSM) Committee, and to help advise on Bar Council activity. The working group includes representatives from all the Circuits, Specialist Bar Associations and Inns of Court, as well as networks created to support barristers and Bar students from different ethnic minority communities.

Race Awareness training guide and materials

The Bar Council has developed a guide on having a conversation about race in chambers. It is designed to increase understanding of race and promote anti-racism at the Bar. Materials include a summary of legal and regulatory duties, as well as explaining different types of racism.

The training materials are free of charge and designed to support delivery within your organisation of a three-part course to raise awareness of race equality issues at the Bar through discussion; they will also support action planning.

As we recommend that this training is provided by those with expertise on this agenda, we are working with the Bar Council’s Race Working Group to assist chambers in delivering this material. We hope to announce plans shortly. Thank you for your patience. If you have any queries, please contact equality@barcouncil.org.uk.


Other Bar Council initiatives

The Bar Council’s efforts to modernise the Bar and make it a more diverse profession are wide-ranging. They include a mixture of direct support, including research, helplines, training and guidance and positive action programmes – for example Bar Placement Week, PAJE and the Bar Council Leadership programme as well as a number of allocation of work/flexible working projects.

Work undertaken since June 2020

The Bar Council, supported by the Race Working Group, has:

  • Made regular public statements and taken action to assist barristers who have reported racism to us;
  • Promoted Bar-based initiatives on race including Black History Month through product launches and blogs;
  • Produced a comprehensive and short positive action guide and a Framework for Taking Action on Race;
  • Agreed a revised approach to terminology, referencing different ethnic communities in line with current good practice; and
  • Supported networking and collaboration.

What we are doing now

  • Developing further guidance
  • Advising chambers on developing positive action programmes by applying the Bar Council’s positive action guides and Framework;
  • Improving data collection and reporting where gaps have been identified.

Working with others

The Bar Council recognises that a wide range of race-related initiatives are in development across the Bar. Whilst we are focusing on initiatives that are specifically tailored to the Bar, we’re very keen to hear about other programmes, and to look at how action taken elsewhere might support our work with the Bar. To get in touch, please email equality@barcouncil.org.uk.