All chambers should provide anti-racism training and take positive action to boost diversity, such as using targeted adverts to recruit people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, the Bar Standards Board has said.
In an anti-racist statement published today, the regulator urged chambers to undertake comprehensive anti-racist training for all barristers and staff and to complete a ‘race equality audit’ to identify obstacles to race equality.
The BSB also expects chambers to implement ‘positive action measures’ where issues have been identified.
‘Examples of positive action may include targeted adverts to recruit people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds into work experience or pupillage opportunities, and measures to support practising barristers from those backgrounds with development, marketing or progression opportunities. Where appropriate, and in response to evidence, positive action measures should be targeted at specific groups (e.g. Black Caribbean) and take an intersectional approach (e.g. Black Caribbean women)’ the regulator said.
The BSB also expects chambers to produce and publish an anti-racist statement for members of chambers and the public.
Disciplinary action will not be taken against chambers who fail to implement the guidelines. However, From April 2021 the BSB will review the profession’s response to today’s statement by asking what steps have been taken to meet the published actions.
BSB director-general Mark Neale said: ‘We recognise that 2020 has been an unprecedentedly challenging year for many parts of the bar but consider the issue of race equality at the bar to be an urgent priority for everyone.
‘We also know that the bar shares that commitment. That’s why we have decided to publish this anti-racist statement now. If all barristers’ practices commit to completing, and fully embracing, the actions that we have set out for them today, we believe this would represent a significant step towards greater racial equality within the profession.’