14 October 2019

Proposed change to our rules to require chambers to allow all self-employed barristers access to parental leave

At our May Board meeting, we agreed to change the equality rules to enable all self-employed barristers in chambers to take parental leave, regardless of whether their spouse or partner takes parental leave.

The proposed rule changes, which were the subject of a consultation that closed in February and are yet to be approved by the Legal Services Board, would mean that: 

  • Parental leave would be made available to every member of chambers who becomes a parent or a carer of a child preceding or following birth or adoption;
  • A parental leave entitlement should constitute, as a minimum, a period of one year away from practice (though a barrister would not be obliged to take the full entitlement);
  • The rule should apply to all mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents, as well as the married, civil, and de facto partners of biological or adoptive parents;
  • Chambers' parental leave policies should allow parental leave to be taken flexibly, to enable barristers to maintain their practice and support their income while on leave; and
  • We would not prescribe what form this flexibility takes, however suggestions will be included in guidance.