Our Religion and Belief Taskforce was formed in March 2021.

The aim of the Taskforce is to support and advise us on how best to raise the awareness of differing religions and beliefs amongst the profession, to address the lack of inclusive action and discussion of religions and belief, to encourage a more inclusive environment, and help to eliminate any religion or belief related discrimination at the Bar.

The Taskforce has compiled a toolkit intended to provide useful and practical information to chambers about the key religions within the profession, and to advise on how Chambers might address any religion or belief-based matters.

The Taskforce plays an important role supporting us, including providing external consultation on Equality Impact Assessments, internal training and general guidance to ensure that we also progress on the journey towards greater inclusivity for different religions and beliefs.

Religion and Belief Taskforce Biographies

Meera Roy-Chowdhury

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

Shadae Cazeau

Head of Equality and Access to Justice,Bar Standards Board

Julian Blake

Julian was called to the Bar in 2006 and specialises in public law, public inquiries, and media and information law. He is a tenant at 11 King’s Bench Walk and a member of the Attorney General’s ‘A’ Panel of Counsel. Julian has been appointed as an Honorary Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council in recognition of his communal work and provides expertise to the Taskforce on the Jewish faith.

Sultana Tafadar

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.

Tinessa Kaur

Tinessa Kaur was Called to the Bar in 2019 at Lincoln’s Inn and is currently seeking pupillage. She is a co-founder of the Sikh Lawyers Association and the Founder of the CUT IT OUT Project and Director of the Kaurs Legal clinic. Tinessa is able to draw upon her own personal experiences in seeking pupillage to contribute towards positive outcomes for fair recruitment at the Bar.

Tinessa wishes to specialise in criminal law and human rights at the Bar. She has already began building her profile in this sector through her work with the CUT IT OUT Project, conducting pro-bono work for Criminal Solicitor firms and other community work through her organisations. She set up the youth crime prevention project to help and support young people who want to move away from gangs and violence.  

Tinessa set up the first Sikh lawyers' network in 2020 with her co-founders, to ensure that Sikhs are no longer underrepresented within the profession and to help and support lawyers and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through the network, she helps to encourage students to pursue a career at the Bar or in the legal profession. It has created great networking opportunities, including solicitors instructing barristers from the group. 

Before even securing pupillage, Tinessa has been awarded two legal category awards in February and July 2022 for her work in the Sikh Community:

1. Highly Commended Rising Star in Law, by the British Sikh Awards;

2. Achievements in Law and Legal Support in the Community by the National Sikh Sports and Community Awards. 

Tinessa is proud to be a part of the BSB's Religion and Belief Taskforce to represent Sikhs. She is looking forward to working alongside her colleagues on the Taskforce to tackle diversity and inclusion at the Bar. 

Christopher Grout

Christopher is the Registrar of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre. He was Called to the Bar in 2007 (Inner Temple) and initially specialised in criminal law from 15 New Bridge Street where he remains an Associate Member. Christopher also sits as a Deputy District Judge, assigned to the South Eastern Circuit, exercising a broad civil and family law jurisdiction.

Christopher has a particular interest in law and religion. He holds an LL.M in Canon Law from Cardiff University and has published articles in various journals including the Ecclesiastical Law Journal, the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, and Law & Justice: The Christian Law Review. He is co-author of Religion and Law in the United Kingdom (3rd Edition) (Wolters Kluwer, 2021) which is an encyclopaedic account of law and religion in the United Kingdom and has been published as part of the International Encyclopaedia of Laws Series as well as a stand-alone monograph. Christopher is also the Convenor of the Law and Religion Scholars Network which operates from the Centre of Law and Religion at Cardiff University and seeks to bring together scholars who share an interest and passion in the field of law and religion in order to facilitate dialogue and discussion on an ever-growing number of topics of interest.

Daniel Grutter

Ravi Aswani

Ravi is a commercial dispute resolution barrister.  As well as commercial litigation in the Business & Property Courts (primarily the Commercial Court), Ravi has an international arbitration practice.  He frequently appears as counsel in arbitrations seated all over the world (and is periodically appointed as an arbitrator).

Ravi has sat as a deputy district judge in the County Court since 2013 in general civil matters, and in 2020 received an authorisation to hear specialist chancery / bankruptcy and insolvency matters.

Ravi has a longstanding passion for matters of equality, diversity, inclusion, belonging and social mobility, and has taken part in many formal and informal mentoring and CSR initiatives.  In 2021 the Society of Asian Lawyers awarded him their Company / Commercial Lawyer of the Year Award. 

Annabel Timan

Annabel Timan is a criminal barrister with substantial experience in serious and complex criminal trials and appeals including Murder, Terrorism, offences under the Modern Slavery Act, Firearms offences and Financial Crime.

She has particular expertise in appellant proceedings having been instructed in recent years in some of the most high-profile appeals against conviction in the country.

She is frequently instructed in cases involving a substantial international element, having previously worked in France advising a multi – national company on its obligations under the UK Bribery Act, and in Ukraine providing advice and training (to the government of Ukraine, the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office and the State Security Services) on cooperation with the International Criminal Court and domestic prosecutions for war crimes arising out of the Russian occupation of Crimea and the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine.

Sam Robinson QC

Ramya Nagesh

Narinder Jhittay

Narinder Jhittay was called to the Bar in 2010. She is a member of Maitland Chambers, specialising in commercial chancery litigation and arbitration. She was one of the 36 barristers across the country selected to take part in the Bar Council’s inaugural Leadership Programme, to help drive forward a positive, open and inclusive culture across the Bar.

Jane Heybroek

Barrister

Jane Heybroek is a member of Goldsmith Chambers. She was a founding members of chambers’ Inclusion Committee, created in 2020 in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. She specialises in Immigration, Asylum and Nationality law. Jane has been a practising Nichiren Buddhist for over 29 years, and is a Buddhist leader in faith in her local area. Using the key tenets of her faith – kindness, compassion and respect for all – she strives to improve everyone’s experience of the legal process.

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