1. Stour Chambers (Chambers) is committed to equality & diversity in its practice and procedures. Every barrister in Chambers is bound by the Bar Council Code of Conduct (the Code of Conduct) and in particular the Bar Council Equality & Diversity Rules which came into force in September 2012. Chambers is therefore committed to providing equality and diversity in its treatment of members of Chambers, staff, professional and lay clients and members of the public in accordance with these rules.

 

2. Chambers’ Equality & Diversity Policy (the Policy) shall be made available to all members of Chambers, including pupils, staff employed by Chambers, professional and lay clients and members of the public who may wish to view it in relation to employment or services provided by Chambers. The Policy will be reviewed annually by the Management Committee (MC) to ensure its continued compliance with the Rules of the Code of Conduct currently in force.

 

3. Under its Constitution and the Code of Conduct, Chambers must appoint an Equality and Diversity Officer (EDO). The EDO shall be trained in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct and will bear responsibility for the amendment of any policies/procedures to ensure compliance with any changes in legislation and best practice in the areas of equality and diversity. The MC has overall responsibility for the implementation of such policies/procedures.

 

4. The EDO, in conjunction with the MC, the Senior Clerk, and the Pupillage and Tenancy Secretary where applicable, is responsible for the monitoring of the following:

(a) the fair recruitment of established practitioners (tenants), pupils and staff
(b) the fair allocation of work between tenants
(c) the administration of flexible working patterns
(d) the administration of maternity/paternity & parental leave
(e) arrangements for compliance with disability legislation
(f) that no discrimination of any nature on whatever grounds takes place in Chambers
(g) that all tenants and staff comply with the Policy

 

5. Fair recruitment
The Policy should be read in conjunction with Chambers’ tenancy policy and the Pupillage Handbook in relation to the recruitment of tenants and pupils but will include:

(a) ensuring that any job advertisements wherever placed will usually include the statement “Chambers are an equal opportunities employer”
(b) taking steps to attract applications from both sexes and all races and ensuring that there is no discrimination at any stage of the recruitment process

Any complaints or appeal against any decisions in relation to the above shall be dealt with in accordance with Chambers’ Complaints Procedure.


6. Allocation of Work
Chambers’ procedure for the allocation of work contains a specific commitment to ensure equality & diversity consistent with the Policy in the managing of briefs, instructions and clerking services, and the decision whether or not to accept instructions or offer advice. The cab rank rule is applied to all tenants in accordance with the Code of Conduct and is monitored by the Senior Clerk, who records any non-compliance. Chambers is committed to promoting the Policy by the following:

(a) ensuring that all work is offered equally to those of similar skills and experience (subject to availability)
(b) taking necessary action under the Code of Conduct should any professional client seek to unfairly influence the use of a particular tenant or decline to use a tenant on the grounds of discrimination


7. Flexible working

Chambers is committed to ensuring that no discrimination is exercised in its response to reasonable requests for flexible working patterns either for tenants or staff.

 

8. Parental leave
Chambers’ Constitution sets out Chambers’ policies on parental leave in relation to maternity/paternity and adoption under Appendix 1F.

 

9. Disability
Chambers will make all reasonable adjustments to tenancy, pupillage or employment arrangements, including the physical features of its premises, to ensure that those who suffer from any disability are not unjustifiably disadvantaged or discriminated against in comparison with persons who are not disabled.

 

10. Discrimination/Harassment
The Policy is intended to ensure that no one is discriminated against, victimised or harassed on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, gender re-assignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, disability, age, religion or belief or pregnancy and maternity/paternity.

Members of Chambers and its employees have a personal responsibility to behave in a manner which is not offensive to others. Behaviour which may amount to discrimination, harassment or victimisation when based on a person’s race, sex, sexual orientation or disability are:

• Suggesting that sexual favours may in some way further a person’s career or that refusing sexual favours may damage it
• Compromising suggestions or invitations or unwelcome propositions
• Offensive remarks, abuse, innuendo or ridicule, including jokes made at the expense of an individual
• Non-verbal behaviour, including insulting or abusive gestures
• Any form of physical assault
• Display of pornographic or offensive material, including on computer screens
• Exclusion from social networks and activities

Such discrimination, victimisation or harassment will not be tolerated by Chambers. It undermines an individual’s dignity and creates a hostile or humiliating working environment.


11. Compliance
Any tenant or member of staff of Chambers who is found guilty of an act of discrimination, victimisation or harassment will normally be subject to disciplinary action. All tenants and staff are required to cooperate in any measures introduced by Chambers designed to ensure equality and diversity and to draw to the attention of the EDO any suspected discriminatory acts or practices. The MC and the EDO will use their best endeavours to ensure that supervision of tenants and staff is such that the Policy is rigorously followed.

Chambers further recognises that it may also be guilty of discrimination if it allows any third party to act in a discriminatory way when it could have reasonably prevented this from occurring. Chambers is committed to ensuring that this does not occur.


12. Legislation
Chambers is also bound by the following legislation, codes of practice and guidance:

(a) The Equality Act 2010 and all guidance related thereto
(b) Employment: Statutory Code of Practice issued by the Equality & Human Rights Commission
(c) Equal Pay: Statutory Code of Practice issued by the Equality & Human Rights Commission

This set comes recommended for its members' expertise in children and matrimonial finance matters. The children cases range across both public and private law work, and include those concerning non-accidental injury, sexual abuse and fabricated illness. On the financial side, the set's barristers demonstrate the ability to act in substantial financial remedies cases as well as Schedule 1 and TOLATA matters.

~ Chambers UK Bar Guide 2020

Specialising in matrimonial finance and children matters. Members appear in the regional courts as well as the High Court and the Court of Appeal. They often act in financial remedy proceedings relating to farms, companies, properties and other assets. In addition they are adept at dealing with serious child care allegations including physical abuse and death.

~ Chambers UK Bar Guide 2019

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