The BSB’s Disability Taskforce was launched in December 2022, as a part of our commitment to promoting equality and diversity at the Bar, with disability being a key area of focus. This commitment has now been reaffirmed through the BSB’s membership of the Business Disability Forum.

The BSB believes that the Bar must reflect the society which it serves and harness diverse talent effectively. A Bar which comprises diverse lived experiences and perspectives will strengthen the quality of service provided. Diverse teams bring better problem solving, more creativity and innovation and ultimately are better placed to serve the public. Creating a more inclusive culture will help to ensure that people from the widest possible talent pool are able to join the profession and progress successfully.

The Taskforce is intended to be a practical, action-orientated taskforce that identifies priorities for the Bar and BSB in enabling disability inclusion and in creating or signposting to practical tools to support this.

The Taskforce will advise the BSB on:

  • how regulatory tools can be used to improve conditions for people with disabilities at the Bar;
  • reviewing and improving routes into the Bar, making it a more accessible and inclusive profession;
  • improving the culture at the Bar to strengthen the retention of disabled barristers; and
  • ensuring that the BSB is setting an example of best practice as an inclusive employer for people with disabilities.
Disability Taskforce Biographies

Dr Sarabajaya Kumar

Sarabajaya joined UCL’s Department of Political Science in 2010 from the University of Oxford, having previously held Fellowship and Faculty roles at the London School of Economics and The Open University.

She teaches postgraduate students about the Voluntary and Non-Profit Sector, and also Leadership. Her research interests are in Accountability, Governance, Ethical Leadership, Intersectionality, and Equality. She is a lead researcher for three research projects: 'Lived experiences of disabled university students during the Covid-19 pandemic', with Professor Yamamoto, Osaka University; 'Coronavirus intersectionalities of disabled and minoritised groups', with Professor Carol Rivas, UCL; and ‘Ableism and the labour market’ with Associate Professor Colin Provost, UCL.

Sarabajaya leads her own consultancy, and is a Director of Impatience which hosts innovative public benefit projects.

Active in civil society and politics, she has co-founded several non-profit organisations. Currently, she is a member of the Policy Advisory Committee of the Women’s Budget Group, a Senior Independent Trustee of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and a steering committee member for both the Centenary Action Group, and the Women’s Equality Party.

Sarabajaya was supported by Activate Collective to contest the 2021 GLA election for the Women’s Equality Party. She was one of only 11 women selected nationally, and the only disabled candidate.

Mary Griffiths Clarke

Mary spent the formative part of her career working as a public sector project change manager. She strategically advised ministers at the Ministry of Justice before working to deliver The Economic Plan for London and 2012 Olympics, leading on a £100m business support initiative before moving into consulting for HM Treasury.

After continuing her education at Central Saint Martins and The National Film and Television School, Mary worked as the leading digital producer for moving image projects in a bicameral position for the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Mary is passionate about social justice, human rights and community cohesion. She served as Equalities board member for the GLA and as a director of Lambeth Law Centre for several years.

With a keen eye for innovation and purposeful projects Mary is delighted to join the Bar Standards Board Disability Taskforce.

Diane Lightfoot

Diane Lightfoot is CEO of Business Disability Forum, a not-for-profit membership organisation that supports businesses to recruit and retain disabled employees and to serve disabled customers. Business Disability Forum’s 450+ members employ c.20% of the UK workforce and 8 million people worldwide. They range from FTSE 100 companies and central Government departments to technology and construction companies, retailers and public services bodies.

Diane is co-Chair of the Disability Charities Consortium and a member of the Disability Confident Business Leaders Group. She is a member of the Steering Group for the Global Business Disability Network, hosted by the ILO and is passionate about the role of good work in transforming people’s lives.

Daniel Holt

Daniel is a future Pupil Barrister at 39 Essex Chambers. He is also the Founding Chair of the Association of Disabled Lawyers (‘ADL’), which was the first independent, pan-profession organisation of people working in and studying law with impairments and physical and mental health conditions. The ADL is a community and network raising awareness of the fact that disabled people and people with health conditions can study and practice law. It also champions the welfare and rights of disabled people and people with health conditions in wider society. It achieves its aims through engagement, events, campaigning and research. He is also a committee member of AllBar, an organisation of disabled barristers.

Educated in special needs schools, Daniel became a seasoned disability rights activist. He has engaged with the Bar Standards Board, Legal Services Board, Solicitors Regulatory Authority, and many other organisations to help improve the experiences of lawyers and students with health conditions. He was a Disability Rights UK Trustee until 31st December 2019 when his second term came to an end. Daniel was ‘highly commended’ at the European Diversity Awards 2018 and is a recipient of Middle Temple’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Award, Blackstone Exhibition Award and Certificate of Honour. He had previously received a Campaign of the Year Award for his work on improving accessibility.

Daniel has a long-standing participation in pro bono cases and has volunteered with Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre, Hackney Community Law Centre, and the Free Representation Unit. He has a particular interest in social security cases and relishes helping those in vulnerable situations to access support. He completed an LLM in Clinical Legal Education with Distinction and attained 92% in his dissertation reflecting upon his cases.

Playing wheelchair football is a strong passion held by Daniel. He has played for 12 years and is currently plays for Greenwich PFC and Sale United PFC. He is also keen on fitness and attends Muscleworks gym. He is also a very proud Dad to his cat, Rio.

Mark Neale

Director General, Bar Standards Board

Mark Neale has had a long career of public service. From 2010, he led the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for nine years, transforming its capability in the wake of the financial crisis to protect consumers in the event of major failures, and putting many of its services online. Before the FSCS, Mark was a civil servant in both policy and delivery roles. This culminated in Director General roles in both The Home Office where he was responsible for counter-terrorism, organised crime and international work from 2002 to 2005, and in HM Treasury where he was the Managing Director for Budget, Tax and Welfare between 2005 and 2010. Mark has also worked as a civil servant on education, employment and welfare issues.

Declarations of interest:

The Lending Standards Board – Non Executive Director

Froebel Trust –  Chair

Emily Broad

Emily was called to the Bar in 2023. She has been Vice Chair of Operations at the Association of Disabled Lawyers since 2021 and is commencing pupillage in 2025.

Dr Gregory Burke

  • Disabled since the age of 16 following severe encephalitis.D
  • MA (Cantab), MPhil, PhD as wheelchair-user; winner of several academic prizes and scholarships;
  • Specialist equality and discrimination barrister (2012) listed as a leading junior in the directories;
  • Listed for last four years in Shaw Trust’s 100 most powerful disabled people in UK;
  • Winner of UK Bar Outstanding Contribution to Diversity & Inclusion Future Leader 2019;
  • Founder and Chair of AccessAble: an information service for disabled people which serves c.5 million disabled people a year as well as helping c.400 major businesses and institutions as clients to become more accessible;
    - AccessAble is itself listed as one of the 100 most powerful disability companies in the UK; and
  • Vastly experienced keynote speaker and conference chair; multiple returning appearances in influential mainstream media such as Radio 4 Today and BBC Breakfast News.

Poornima Karunacadacharan

Policy Manager, Equality and Access to Justice, The Bar Standards Board

Poornima Karunacadacharan is the Policy Manager for Equality and Access to Justice at the BSB. She has been leading on the drafting of the Equality Rules, as well as ensuring equality, diversity, and inclusion is embedded in all areas of BSB regulation. She has over 20 years experience working in the Charity Sector and as a consultant for public sector organisations on equality and human rights issues. Poornima has expertise in training public, private, and voluntary sector organisations on the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Dee Sekar

Head of Equality and Access to Justice, The Bar Standards Board

Dee Sekar is a qualified solicitor (England and Wales) and has worked as a corporate solicitor at Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard. Dee has worked in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) space for 12 years, most recently as a Senior Manager at PwC. She also led the Global DEI department at Chambers and Partners for eight years as Global DEI Director. Dee is a global Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) and DEI expert with experience working across Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and North America. 

Dee held the position of committee member for The Law Society's Ethnic Solicitors Network and is the former Deputy Chair of InterLaw Diversity Forum. She is an active mentor and enjoys supporting the next generation of talent through coaching and practical guidance. Dee is a strong advocate for pro bono work and has supported pro bono projects at PwC and the In House Pro Bono Group.

Disability Taskforce Launch event videos

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BSB Disability Taskforce Film: Perspectives

A short film which the BSB Disability Taskforce commissioned and Taskforce member Mary Griffiths Clarke produced.

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Perspectives (with Audio Description)

A short film which the BSB Disability Taskforce commissioned and Taskforce member Mary Griffiths Clarke produced (with audio description).

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Event: Being disabled at the Bar the regulator's perspective on disability inclusion and supporting

BSB Disability Taskforce Launch Event, 7 December 2022