Almost a quarter of black barristers feel their relationships with solicitors have been impacted by their race, according to a report by the Black Barristers’ Network.
In a survey of 100 self-employed black barristers, 24% of respondents said their relationships with solicitors had been negatively affected by their race, while a quarter said they might have been negatively impacted.
Meanwhile, a majority of respondents felt respected in their fields by solicitors - but the level of respect varied depending on the question asked. For example, while high levels of respect were reported in relation to the work received (74% felt respected), only 51% of respondents felt respected in the fees solicitors were willing to pay.
When asked about the judiciary, over half of those surveyed said their experiences before judges, magistrates and panel members had been negatively affected by their race. Just 14% said they had not experienced this.
The survey also suggested that racial discrimination affected men and women differently, with female respondents reporting more negative experiences than male barristers.
Natasha Shotunde of Garden Court Chambers and chair of the Black Barristers’ Network said: ‘This survey shows that many black barristers feel that their experiences at the bar may be negatively affected by racism. What is particularly striking is the differences in experiences by black male and black female barristers, with many more black female barristers reporting negative treatment which may be due to their race.
'This highlights the intersectionality of their race and gender, and how that can result in negative treatment towards black female barristers.’
Earlier this month, a study by the Bar Standards Board found that female and ethnic minority barristers earn less than their white male counterparts, even when grouped by practice area and seniority. Female barristers from minority ethnic backgrounds were found to be the lowest earning group.