Dere Street Barristers is an equal opportunities employer. We believe that the success of the quality
of service we provide depends on creating and sustaining a working environment that is free from discrimination, prejudice, harassment, or victimisation.
Chambers seeks to comply with the mandatory requirements in the Equality Code for the Bar and is committed to providing equality of opportunity and to eliminating discrimination on grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability. In particular, we are aware of and seek to comply with our obligations under relevant legislation, including the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as well as the general provisions of EU law. To this end, Chambers has its own Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Policy, the principles of which are intended to apply across the whole range of activities carried out by Chambers, its members and its staff.
Chambers regards the principles of equal opportunities as applying across the whole range of activities carried out by Chambers, its members and its staff and we strive to ensure that all our practices and procedures are constructed and operated in accordance with good equal opportunities practice. Our aim is to ensure that every individual is accorded equal treatment, dignity and respect and is judged on merit and ability alone, free from judgments or treatment based, consciously or not, on prejudice or assumptions of collective characteristics. In particular, Chambers supports and seeks to comply with the mandatory requirements in the Equality Code for the Bar and is committed to providing equality of opportunity and to eliminating discrimination on grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age and disability.
A member of chambers, pupil or member of staff must not act in relation to another member of chambers, present/aspiring member of the bar, to a lay or professional client or to anyone else with whom he/she comes into contact in a professional capacity, in a manner which is discriminatory or which consists of harassment or which victimises that person, on grounds of race, colour, ethnic/national origin, nationality, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability or political persuasion. For this purpose, it is recognised that;
- discrimination may be “direct” or “indirect”, and that (i) direct discrimination consists of treating someone less favourably than others are or would be treated in comparable circumstances, and (ii) indirect discrimination consists of the unjustifiable application of a requirement or condition, or a provision, criterion or practice, which is or would be liable to have a significantly disproportionate effect as between individuals of different races/sexes etc and which results, through an inability to comply, in some detriment to an individual
- harassment comprises unwelcome conduct which is offensive and unwelcome to the recipient and is not limited to conduct which is intended to cause offence or distress
- victimisation consists of less favourable treatment to those who have brought proceedings, given evidence or information, or made a complaint based upon an allegation of discrimination, harassment or victimisation.
The principles of and underlying this policy apply to everything which we do. For example, and in particular, all decisions relating to recruitment (whether of staff, members or pupils), the appraisal of staff and pupils, the handling of staff promotions and the distribution of work (both to members and to pupils) must be made in accordance therewith. Further, no work should ever be diverted or allocated at the request of the professional client if it is believed by the person asked to make such a diversion or allocation that the request is a result of prejudice based on race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, religion, age or political persuasion on the part of the professional or lay client in question. Any request whether expressed or implied by a professional client that work be not given to a barrister on the grounds of race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, religion, age or political persuasion should be reported to the Head Clerk who shall forthwith report the matter to the Chairman of the Race Relations Committee of the Bar Council if it relates to race or ethnic origin and to the Chairman of the Professional Standards Committee of the Bar Council in any other case.
Chambers actively seek to promote an understanding of Equal Opportunities issues, both within Chambers and more widely through notice boards and induction. Many members of Chambers have an active practice in the field of Discrimination and regularly advise clients on such issues as well as give seminars on the subject. All members of Chambers and Staff are encouraged to develop a sympathetic understanding of the needs and concerns of particular minorities. Thus, for example, Chambers’ premises have been adapted so as to enable easy access for the disabled, although members are also encouraged, where appropriate, to see disabled clients in their homes or at premises convenient for them rather than always to require them to travel to Chambers.
There is a danger that the mere adoption of a comprehensive Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Policy and the regular recitation of its principles could yet lead to a degree of complacency. This is something which Chambers strives to avoid. Thus the Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Policy and the means by which we seek to implement and promote its principles are the subject of review by the chambers’ executive board and the Equality and Diversity Officer each year.
Last updated January 2016.