Gender Equality at the Bar

On 6 November 2013, the Victorian Bar Council adopted a package of measures designed to support the retention of women at the Bar and address the reasons they leave the Bar. The new package of measures, The Quantum Leap, was launched by the Honourable Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC of the Supreme Court of Victoria on 12 November.

The Quantum Leap centres on a seven point plan:

Point One
A Bar Barometer to measure numbers of women at the Bar and their comparative earnings by seniority and area of practice. 

Point Two
The Silks’ Undertaking - a pledge to commit to actions promoting equality and diversity.

Point Three
An Unconscious Bias Program - Bias awareness training to be delivered across the Bar.

Point Four
Culture change - Formal and informal mechanisms for reporting bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Point Five 
A new Mentoring Program - Available for women at key career milestones of two years, seven years and to senior junior women.

Point Six
Re-engagement Roundtables to maintain contact and support for women on career breaks.

Point Seven
Exit Surveys to understand the drivers of attrition of women at the Bar and identify factors to assist in retaining women at the Bar.

Read the Media Release here.
Read the Project Plan here.
View presentation here.
View speech by Fiona McLeod SC here

The Silks’ Undertaking

A pledge by Silks indicating a personal commitment to advancing equality and diversity including, at a minimum, recommending at least one new woman for a research task or junior brief annually, and to actively support a non-discriminatory workplace culture at the Bar. Click here for a copy of the Undertaking.

Silks who signed the Undertaking include

Fiona McLeod SC
  Philip Dunn QC  Ronald Meldrum QC  Martin Scott QC 
Will Alstergren QC
  Adrian Finanzio SC   Ronald Merkel QC  David Shavin QC
James Peters QC   Jacinta Forbes QC  Simon Molesworth AO QC  Toby Shnookal QC
Stewart Anderson QC  Hugh Foxcroft QC  Albert Monichino QC  Philip Solomon QC
Richard Attiwill QC
  Ian Freckelton QC  Jonathon Moore QC  Carolyn Sparke QC
Hamish Austin SC
  Rodney Garratt QC  Steven Moore QC  Helen Symon QC
Martin Bartfeld QC  George Georgiou SC  Vincent Morfuni QC  Patrick Tehan QC
Jennifer Batrouney QC  David Gilbertson QC  Terrence Murphy QC  Malcolm Titshall QC
David Batt QC  Jeremy Gobbo QC  David Neal SC  Timothy Tobin SC
Garry Bigmore QC  Colin Golvan SC  Olyvia Nikou QC  Nicholas Tweedie SC
Susan Brennan SC  George Golvan QC  Michael O'Bryan SC  Remy van de Wiel QC
Michael Borsky SC  Peter Hanks QC  Norman O'Bryan AM SC  Bruce Walmsley QC
David Brown QC  Gregory Harris QC  Michael O'Connell SC  Brian Walters QC
Julian Burnside AO QC  Constantine Heliotis QC  Stephen O'Meara QC  Michael Wheelahan QC
Bruce Caine QC   Ian Hill QC  Michael Osborne QC  Daryl Williams QC
Christopher Canavan QC  Dyson Hore-Lacy SC  Clifford Pannam QC  Ted Woodward SC
Peter Cawthorn QC  Iain Jones QC  Michael Pearce SC  Michael Wyles QC
Peter Chadwick QC  Kerri Judd QC  John Philbrick QC  Neil Young QC
Neil Clelland QC  Caroline Kenny QC  Michelle Quigley QC  W Brind Zichy-Woinarski QC
Matthew Collins QC  Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC  Carmen Randazzo SC   
Matthew Connock QC  Caroline Kirton QC  John Richards QC   
Philip Corbett QC  Maryanne Loughnan QC  Robert Richter QC   
Philip Crutchfield QC  Colin Lovitt QC  Gordon Ritter QC   
Christopher Dane QC  Richard Manly QC  Aileen Ryan QC   
John de Wijn QC  Daniel Masel SC  Paul Scanlon QC   
Stephen Donaghue QC  Ian Mawson QC  
Charles Scerri QC

For further information about The Quantum Leap, please contact Gabrielle Östberg, Policy Lawyer.