Barristers’ chambers could need “work allocation officers” to ensure gender equality

updated on 26 January 2018

The mandatory appointment of “work allocation officers” at barristers chambers is being considered by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) as part of its Women at the Bar programme to improve equality in the profession.

In 2016 a BSB survey revealed that almost half women barristers had experienced discrimination at work, while a shocking 40% had been harassed. The Women at the Bar programme has been part of the BSB’s work to address serious problems in the profession since then. The survey also found widespread concern about the lack of transparency and favouritism apparent in the allocation of work at some chambers.

In addition to considering the introduction of work allocation officers to ensure that chambers’ work is distributed equally, Legal Futures reports that the BSB is now looking at whether women barristers returning from maternity leave should be exempt from rent and contributing a portion of their fees to chambers for a limited time.

An action plan is expected to be finalised at the BSB’s next meeting.