External assistance

Assistance from the Inns of Court

The Council of the Inns of Court (COIC) has a Bar Retention Working Group working to consider and report to COIC on the ways in which public interest in the retention in practice at the Bar of parents after the birth of their children, and in diversity in the Judiciary, may be promoted, and obstacles overcome.

The Inns of Court are running the following initiatives:

Lincoln's Inn

Lincoln's Inn is alive to the difficulties which are often faced by the parents of young children in maintaining a practice in a very demanding profession, and is actively considering ways in which it might help its members to continue a career at the Bar. 

While Lincoln's Inn does not consider it appropriate to provide subsidised childcare facilities for those able to bring their children into central London, as has been suggested, it will be seeking the views of its members as to what, if any, special arrangements might be made to assist women barristers, in particular, to continue their careers, and this consultation will appear on its website, www.lincolnsinn.org.uk.

Inner Temple

Inner Temple is supportive of initiatives to help with the retention of women at the Bar and has been active in looking for possible locations for a nursery/crèche, either within its estate or in the immediate vicinity.  Although at present there are no obvious sites available for a nursery, Inner Temple will be keeping this on its agenda. 

Inner Temple is currently developing a page on its website (www.innertemple.org.uk) where members can post information about nanny shares and other family friendly schemes which will aid women wishing to continue in practice whilst raising a family.  This page will become live shortly and will be available to all members of Inner Temple.

Middle Temple

Middle Temple Women's Forum aims to inspire and support its female members  throughout the course of their careers.

Although Middle Temple's student profile shows a marked increase in the number of young women training to be barristers, women continue to be under-represented in the middle-to-upper reaches of the Bar and in the Judiciary. 

The retention of women at the Bar is a serious issue. For these reasons, Middle Temple has established the Middle Temple Women's Forum to develop a culture of mutual support outside of Chambers and the Courts. The Forum aims to bring women practitioners and colleagues together through events and networking to hear and learn directly from each other. Ultimately, it is about helping Middle Temple's women practitioners achieve their potential throughout the course of their professional lives.
Middle Temple will be holding an inaugural event for its members and their guests from 6 to 8pm on Tuesday 6 March 2012, at which the keynote speaker will be Lady Justice Hallett. Drinks will be served in an informal setting and there will be a chance to meet other Middle Templars and the members of Middle Temple's Women's Forum Steering Group. Guests are welcome - male or female, practitioner, judge, Head of Chambers, clerk or other colleagues. Please visit www.middletemple.org.uk for further information. 

Gray's Inn

Gray's Inn is aware of the difficulties facing parents wishing to return to practice at the Bar. In a demanding profession that has unpredictable hours and a stressful workload, the costs and practicalities of childcare are amongst many issues being faced.

Gray's Inn is committed to providing members with the information needed to assist in their return to work. Click here for further information.

Government assistance for parents

The Bar Council does not recommend individual childcare providers or facilities. However, the Government provides advice on finding and choosing appropriate childcare, help with childcare costs, and other useful topics here.

Support networks

You may find the following Bar associations able to assist you with any further queries that you may have:

Association of Women Barristers (AWB)
Bar Lesbian and Gay Group (BLAGG)