Our Race Equality Taskforce was formed in June 2019, as a key outcome of our 2018 event, “Heads Above the Parapet: How can we improve Race Equality at the Bar?” The Taskforce supports the delivery of our statutory objectives, by advising us on the development of strategy, policy and activity to improve race equality outcomes in the profession[1].

Five key drivers underpin the Taskforce and its work:

  • Our latest annual Diversity at the Bar report, which reveals that although the representation of barristers from Minority Ethnic Groups continues to improve, progress is slow and there the proportion of barristers from Minority Ethnic Groups generally declines at higher levels of seniority.
  • Our “Differential Attainment at BPTC and Pupillage” research and accompanying qualitative research, “Barriers to Training for the Bar”, which show that aspiring barristers from Minority Ethnic Groups face additional barriers in entering the profession compared to their white counterparts.
  • Our “Women at the Bar” survey and the Bar Council “Barristers’ Working Lives” research, which suggests that barristers from Minority Ethnic Groups are more likely to experience bullying, discrimination and harassment than their white counterparts.
  • Our “2019 Risk Outlook”, which cites evidence to suggest that barristers from Minority Ethnic Groups, in general, are likely to earn less on average than white barristers.

Reflecting our determination to convert the recommendations from “Heads Above the Parapet: How can we improve Race Equality at the Bar?” the Taskforce agreed an action plan shortly after being formed. In implementing that plan, the Taskforce has played an important role in the development of our Equality and Diversity Strategy for 2020 to 2022 and the ongoing equality impact assessment of our Equality Rules. The Taskforce has also produced case studies about good practice at the Bar. By shining a light on some of the initiatives that have been set up to address barriers to race equality, we hope to drive innovation and meaningful change in the wider profession, and highlight the importance of inclusive cultures.

The Taskforce will continue to promote greater visibility of Black and Minority Ethnic role models and greater collaboration on the race equality agenda.

Biographies

Julian Blake

Sultana Tafadar

Zara Kayani

Jaskeerat Singh

Immigration solicitor, Maalik & Co Solicitors

Jaskeerat Singh was called to the Bar in December 2015 and he is currently seeking pupillage to qualify as a practicing barrister. Jaskeerat practices immigration and family law, and he represents vulnerable clients in Immigration Tribunals and Family Courts. As a practicing Sikh, Jaskeerat recognises the barriers which are faced by students and aspiring barristers from diverse background whilst trying to find their feet in this prestigious profession. 

Jaskeerat Singh co-founded Sikh Lawyers Association to allow students from disadvantaged backgrounds to receive mentoring opportunities from practicing members of the profession. Sikh Lawyers Association is the first association for Sikhs in the legal profession and it brings a strong support network for established members. Jaskeerat Singh echoes the principle of Sikhism to “Recognise the Human Race as One”, and he encourages diversity and inclusion within the profession to ensure current and prospective members of the bar can overcome adversity to reach the highest levels despite their race, religion, or background.

Narinder Jhittay

Tinessa Kaur

Christopher Grout

Andrew Mitchell QC

PRP Committee Vice-Chair

Andrew Mitchell QC was called to the Bar in 1992 and took silk in 2011. He specialises in commercial and civil litigation and arbitration. His practice is predominantly in the fields of banking, financial services, professional negligence, professional and financial regulation, and (re)insurance law, with a significant international element. He is a member of the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR), and also an accredited Mediator. He is a member of Fountain Court Chambers, and was formerly an experienced member of the Professional Conduct Committee of the Bar Standards Board, on which he sat from 2010.

[1] The Taskforce is an advisory body, established under paragraph 14(3) of the Constitution of the BSB.