Bar Council tackles sexual harassment

Bar Council tackles sexual harassment

The Bar Council has published a new guide for chambers aimed at tackling any residual sexual harassment in the profession.

In a move aimed at ensuring chambers properly handle any allegation of harassment, the Bar Council says this is another step in seeking to make chambers not only compliant with the relevant rules around this kind of behaviour, but also better able to handle complaints as and when they arise. The guide will assist all barristers in appropriately managing their practice and professional relationships with others.

Fiona Jackson, Vice-chair of the Bar Council’s Equality Diversity & Social Mobility Committee, said:

“The guide builds on our programme of Equality & Diversity support work and last year’s Snapshot: The Experience of Self-Employed Women at the Bar. In addition, it contributes to our wider aim of relegating any residual pernicious sexual harassment of barristers, pupil barristers and staff to the past in order to ensure a level playing field in practice where all barristers can thrive and succeed to the highest levels. It underscores that harassment should not be tolerated in any circumstances and that complaints should be taken seriously and echoes the Bar Council’s ongoing commitment to protecting potentially more vulnerable members of Chambers and ensuring that they feel supported when making complaints.”

The new guidance, which is part of the Bar Council’s Practice & Ethics Hub, is entitled “Tackling Sexual Harassment: Information for Chambers” and defines sexual harassment clearly and comprehensively, and outlines barristers’ duties and regulatory requirements with a range of useful factual scenarios and a model policy emphasising best practice.

The guide, includes tips and case study scenarios, victim support information as well as advice on encouraging self-reporting of sexual harassment to the Bar Standards Board, the Bar’s regulator.

The guide can be found on the Bar Council web site at www.barcouncil.org.uk/practice-ethics/professional-practice-and-ethics/equality-and-diversity/sexual-harassment-information-for-chambers/

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