21 January 2018

Bar regulator publishes report on diversity at the Bar

29 January 2016

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published its annual report for 2015 on the diversity of the profession.

The data show that women are under-represented at the practising Bar, despite being almost even with men at the point of pupillage. Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) barristers are also under-represented at the practising Bar.

There is evidence that women are not experiencing career progression at the same rate as men, and that BME barristers are not experiencing progression at the same rate as white barristers, in particular at QC appointment stage.

Completion rates for the monitoring questionnaire have increased by an average of 6.2 per cent across all categories. However, while most barristers have provided their gender, ethnicity and age data, most have not provided information for other characteristics such as, sexual orientation, religion and belief and categories related to social mobility.

The BSB has more accurate data for pupils compared to other levels of seniority and would encourage all barristers to update their diversity information.

The BSB aims to increase response rates in the areas where data is lacking so that we have a solid evidence base to inform policy decisions.

BSB Director of Regulatory Policy Ewen MacLeod said: "The BSB publishes these data in accordance with its duties under theEquality Act 2010.

"However, as a regulator acting in the public interest, there is a genuine need to gather evidence to make sure there are no barriers for competent barristers of any background to progressing their careers. We urge barristers to update their diversity information when asked by the regulator each year.

"This information helps us to identify trends and barriers, and to take action that will encourage an independent, strong, diverse and effective profession.

"It is in everyone's interests that we fully understand the impact of our equality and diversity initiatives and develop policies that promote a profession that reflects the diverse society it serves.

"We are complementing this with further projects such as the recent women at the Bar survey which has been designed to provide evidence about the challenges and experiences of different segments of the Bar."

You can read the BSB Diversity Report 2015 report here.

ENDS

Notes to editors

About the Bar Standards Board

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