Equality & Diversity

KBW Chambers adhere to the Bar Council Equality Code and are committed to creating an unprejudiced environment. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, religion or political persuasion. This applies across all aspects of Chambers business.

The policy covers the conduct of all members, pupils and staff and any breach of this policy will trigger our disciplinary procedures.

Below is a summary of the key equality and diversity provisions governing Chambers conduct:

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  • Para.204 of the code of conduct of the Bar of England and Wales prohibits a practising Barrister from discriminating on the grounds of their race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, marital status, disability, religion or political persuasion.
  • Under Para.304 of the Code of Conduct, Barristers in independent practice must have regard to the Equality Code for the Bar.
  • The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Race Relations Act 1976, as amended by section 64 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, place a duty on Barristers (and Barristers’ clerks) not to discriminate on the grounds of race or sex.
  • It is unlawful for a person to victimise persons by treating them less favourably because they have brought proceedings under the Race Relations or Sex Discrimination Act, have given evidence or information relating to proceedings or have alleged that discrimination had occurred. Such treatment will also breach Para.204 of the Code of Conduct.
  • It is unlawful for a person to instruct, induce or attempt to induce another person to discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex or marital status. Equally it is unlawful to act on such instructions or inducement.
  • Employers or principals are vicariously liable for any unlawfully discriminatory act of their employees or agents in the course of their work, unless they can demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent such acts.
  • Para. 601 and 602 expressly prohibit a Barrister from withdrawing his services on the grounds of objection to the case, objection to the beliefs of the client, or the financial implications of the case. Irrespective of the client paying privately or being funded publicly, the party on whose behalf he has been instructed, the nature of the case, and any opinion formed about the character or the case, a Barrister who supplies advocacy services must accept any brief, appropriate to his experience, to appear before a court in which he professes to practice, any instructions, and act on behalf of any person.

Diversity Data 2019
As part of its commitment to equality and diversity, KBW Chambers conducts a survey of members diversity characteristics every three years. Our most recent Diversity Data survey was completed in spring/summer 2019. A summary of the data, edited so as not to enable the identity of individuals, is available here: KBW Diversity Data 2019.

The following features of the 2019 data are particularly noticeable:

  • 54% of responders identified as male, and 42% as female.
  • 76% of responders identified as white British. 24% identified as members of other ethnic groups.
  • More than half of responders (56%) were the first in their family to go to university.
  • Half of all responders were primary carers for a child or children under 18.
  • 12% had caring responsibilities for relatives who needed care due to age or long term disability.
  • 72% of responders went to a UK state secondary school compared to only 20% who went to a fee-paying school.

However there is always more work to do to promote equality and diversity at the Bar, and KBW Chambers will use the information gathered during this and future diversity data surveys to inform our equality action plan for 2020 and future years.

KBW Chambers Anti-Racism Statement
Events around the world since May 2020 have impressed on us all the need to address the barriers to racial equality and eliminate racism in all its forms. KBW Chambers is committed to playing its part in this process.

To this end we further commit ourselves to the following:

1) Providing the highest quality of professional service to all clients, treating all with whom we come into contact in the course of our working lives (including witnesses, opposing parties, legal professionals, judiciary and court staff) with courtesy and respect, and seeking to understand the particular needs and perspectives of all, regardless of race or ethnicity.

2) Ensuring that chambers is an environment free from harassment, bullying, victimisation or discrimination on any grounds, including race or ethnicity.

3) Seeking to recruit barristers, pupils and members of staff from all racial and ethnic groups, and breaking down the barriers that stand in the way of achieving racial diversity in the legal profession.

4) Taking positive action to encourage and support aspiring barristers from racial and ethnic backgrounds that are under-represented at the Bar, in the legal profession generally and among the judiciary.

5) Ensuring that all barristers in chambers have the opportunity to develop their practices in whichever direction they choose to pursue, regardless of race or ethnicity, and that they succeed and thrive in their chosen profession.

6) All those involved in chambers (members, pupils and staff) will continue to learn and educate ourselves on issues of race and ethnicity to expand our understanding of how to be actively anti-racist and work towards equality.

This statement forms part of our wider commitment to equality and diversity, including addressing issues related all protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, and which is embodied in our Equality and Diversity Policy.

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