Equality & Diversity

Chambers’ commitment

  1. 2 Bedford Row Barristers Chambers’ Equality and Diversity policy commits Chambers to:
    • The practical application and promotion of principles of equal opportunity and diversity, and
    • The communication of that commitment and those principles to Chambers’ members, employees, other workers, service users and the public at large.

Introduction

  1. Chambers aims to be an inclusive organisation in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect and where there is equal opportunity for all. Each member of Chambers, whether tenant, pupil, staff member etc. has responsibility for complying with this policy.
  2. Chambers recognises that in society groups of individuals can be disadvantaged on grounds of age, disability, gender re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, sex and/or sexual orientation. Chambers further recognises that there can be discrimination both in the criminal justice system and the legal establishment.
  3. Chambers’ view is that in any modern and progressive society its justice system should reflect the richness of its social, gender-based, racial, cultural and other diversity of the society it serves.
  4. Principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity apply within Chambers to all staff, members, applicants, visitors, clients and suppliers.
  5. Avoiding discrimination is a key objective of Chambers and reflects its core values. Promoting diversity is consistent with meritocracy and will ensure a wider pool of talent on which Chambers can draw and enhance the service provided to clients.
  6. Equality legislation, principally the Equality Act 2010, is designed to promote fairness including in relation to employment, promotion and the provision of services.
  7. In accordance with the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 Chambers will avoid discrimination on the grounds of:
    • Age
    • Disability
    • Gender re-assignment
    • Marital or civil partnership status
    • Pregnancy or maternity
    • Race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins
    • Religion or belief
    • Sex, and/or
    • Sexual orientation.

Forms of Discrimination under the Equality Act 2010

  1. Forms of discrimination include:
    • Direct discrimination, where a person is less favourably treated because of age, disability, gender re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, sex and/or sexual orientation.
    • Indirect discrimination, where a requirement or condition which cannot be justified is applied equally to all groups, but has a disproportionately adverse effect on one particular group.
    • Victimisation, where someone is treated badly because they have done a ‘protected act’, or because an employer, service provider or other organisation believes that they have done or are going to do a protected act e.g. making a complaint of discrimination. The reason for the treatment does not need to be linked to a protected characteristic.
    • Harassment, where someone is subjected to unwanted behaviour that is offensive, where the other person’s behaviour is because of a protected characteristic or a connection with a protected characteristic.

Equality of Opportunity & Promotion of Diversity

  1. Chambers provides equal opportunities and promotes diversity. This is evidenced by the diverse ethnic and social backgrounds of members, pupils, staff and clients (lay and professional). All job applicants, employees, members, other barristers and clients (lay and professional) receive equal treatment regardless of age, disability, gender re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, sex and/or sexual orientation.
  2. It is unlawful to discriminate against individuals either directly or indirectly in respect of their age, disability, gender re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, sex and/or sexual orientation. Relevant legislation is incorporated into this policy.
  3. All members of Chambers, pupils and staff, in their professional dealings with any other parties:
    • Must not at any time discriminate against any person, directly or indirectly, on grounds of their age, gender re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, sex, and/or sexual orientation, and
    • Must not at any time discriminate against any person on grounds of disability, except where, in relation to legislation, there is specific exception or limitation preventing such discrimination from being unlawful.
  4. Chambers has implemented the relevant legislation as required by the Bar Standards Board Handbook Equality Rules (and as amended from time to time).

Application of this policy

  1. This policy applies to:
    • Members
    • Employees
    • Applicants for membership and for employment
    • Pupils
    • Trainees
    • Students on work experience, and
    • Clients (lay and professional) and other service users.
  2. The policy commits Chambers to:
    • Promoting equality of opportunity for all persons
    • Promoting a good and harmonious working environment in which all persons are treated with respect
    • Preventing unlawful direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation
    • Fulfilling equality and diversity obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and the Bar Standards Board’s Equality and Diversity Rules, and
    • Complying with this policy.

Implementation & Responsibility

  1. The Chambers Equality and Diversity Committee is responsible for ensuring application of this policy within Chambers. The members of the committee are: Mr Anand Beharrylal QC (Chair and E&D Officer), Ms Shauna Ritchie (Deputy Chair and E&D Officer), Mr David Patience,  Cathryn Sutclliffe and Ms Angela Campbell.
  2. The Equality and Diversity Committee have formulated an Equality and Diversity Action Plan for the implementation of this policy and its aims and objectives. The Action Plan is in accordance with the Bar Standards Board requirements and indicates timescales for actions and also indicates the lead/person responsible for ensuring specific actions are carried out. The Action Plan is kept under regular review.
  3. Accordingly, two committee members of chambers have been appointed as Equal Opportunities Officers Mr Anand Beharrylal QC and Ms Shauna Ritchie and to liaise with the Chambers Management Committee, which has overall responsibility for the effective implementation of policies within Chambers.
  4. Ms Angela Campbell is the Chambers Administrator and is responsible for collecting and publishing diversity data.

Recruitment & Promotion

  1. Chambers ensures that those involved in the recruitment and promotion process (whether for staff, pupils or barristers) have received the appropriate training in recruitment and selection good practice.
  2. Chambers ensures applications for tenancy, pupillage and staffing are attracted from people regardless of age, disability, gender re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, sex, and/or sexual orientation, and Chambers ensures there are equal opportunities at all stages of recruitment.
  3. All advertisements relating to recruitment refer to Chambers’ commitment to equal opportunities and that the selection procedures adopted by Chambers promote and safeguard equal opportunities.
  4. Recruitment to and promotion within Chambers is made without regard to age, disability, gender re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, sex, and/or sexual orientation and is based solely on merit.

Chambers’ commitment to Clients

  1. Chambers has since its formation been completely committed to client care and service and this remains central to Chambers’ ethos and success.
  2. Chambers is generally free to decide whether to accept instructions from any particular client, subject to the cab rank rule and ethical considerations e.g. conflicts of interest. However, any such decision will not be based upon the age, disability, gender re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, sex, and/or sexual orientation of the prospective client.
  3. A client’s request for a named barrister will be complied with, subject to Chambers’ duty to discuss with the client the suitability of the barrister and to advise the client appropriately.
  4. Chambers has a duty in accordance with this policy to discuss with a client any request by a client that only a barrister of a particular racial or social group or gender be instructed. Any discriminatory instruction will be discussed with the client so as to ensure the right barrister is instructed based on expertise, experience and availability.

Allocation of Work

  1. The allocation of work received in Chambers and the distribution of work between members of Chambers and pupils is conducted so as to ensure that all members and pupils are treated fairly and given equal opportunity to develop their practices.
  2. Allocation of work is reviewed annually and a report provided to the Equality and Diversity Committee and Chambers Management Committee by the Senior Clerk or Deputy Senior Clerk, to ensure that equal opportunities procedures remain effective.

Facilities for those with Disabilities

  1. Some areas of our building may not be suitable for those with some types of mobility impairment. Members of Chambers can address this by visiting clients (lay or professional) at Solicitors’ offices where suitable. Chambers can also make arrangements for suitable venues located near Chambers. Please contact our Clerks to make such arrangements on clerks@2bedfordrow.co.uk or if you would like to check facilities or discuss particular needs before attending Chambers.

Transport and parking

  1. Chambers offices are located approximately 7 minutes walk from Chancery Lane tube and main bus stops. The location of 2 Bedford Row allows for access at street level for vehicle drop off and pick up.
  2. Metered car parking is available on Bedford Row. If you wish to park for more than 2 hours, the public car park located on Southampton Row is approximately 10 minutes walk from Chambers.

Contravention of this Policy and Complaints

  1. Any complaint of contravention of this policy will be addressed sensitively and in accordance with considerations of confidentiality and privacy. Any breach of this policy will be treated as serious and may result in disciplinary action.
  2. Any complaint of prohibited discrimination will be determined and/or dealt with as seems most appropriate in the first instance by the Equality and Diversity Committee.
  3. Any decision or action found to have been taken on discriminatory grounds will, as far as possible/practicable, be reconsidered, in addition to any other action/s deemed appropriate.
  4. Any decision of the Equality and Diversity Committee is subject to a right of review by Chambers Management Committee. The decision of Chambers Management Committee is final.
  5. Complaints about breach of this policy can be made by phone or in writing. Any such complaint can be made either:

Update of this Equality and Diversity Policy

  1. With a view to keeping this policy up to date, reviews of recruitment, promotion data etc. (of staff, pupils and tenants) are conducted by the Equality and Diversity Committee at regular intervals. Any necessary update of this policy is presented to the Chambers Management Committee for final approval.

Policy updated: April 2020