The Victorian Bar is committed to promoting equality and diversity in the legal profession. Such an approach is consistent with the principles of justice, integrity, equity and the pursuit of excellence upon which the Bar is founded.
The Victorian Bar Council supports a fair, equitable, dynamic, inclusive and diverse Bar which continues to attract and retain the best talent, male and female. One way it does this is by actively promoting the aims of the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy (Policy), launched by the Law Council of Australia (LCA) in June 2016 and formally endorsed by the Victorian Bar. The aims of the Policy are to achieve a nationally consistent approach towards bringing about cultural and attitudinal change within the legal profession with respect to gender briefing practices, so as to maximise choices for legal practitioners and their clients, promote the full use of the independent Bar and optimise opportunities for practice development of all barristers. The Victorian Bar has also adopted the LCA’s Diversity and Equality Charter.
You can be involved in these endeavours. The Policy is available for adoption by all barristers. By adopting the Policy, you can demonstrate to your colleagues at the Bar and across the wider profession your support for the aims of the Policy and, through those aims, the continued excellence of the Bar. We encourage you to adopt the Policy by completing the form at the LCA website. The resources outlined below provide more information as to how and why to adopt the Policy.
This Guide is for the benefit of barristers from the Victorian Bar who have adopted the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy. It has been developed to assist barristers to comply with the requirements under the Policy to collect and report data to the Law Council of Australia.
The Victorian Bar provides a Barrister Worksheet to assist barristers in collecting data during the reporting period and compiling their report at the end of the reporting period. The Worksheet covers all of the categories for which barristers are to collect data and report under the Policy.
"The Bar has always claimed to stand for a series of ideals, amongst the most important of which is a willingness to defend and support fairness and justice for all – which must surely include its own members. And it would be quite wrong for those who contemplate coming to the Bar to be dissuaded from doing so by the fear that the Bar itself maintains gender bias, or that bodies such as the Bar Council might not do everything possible to eradicate discriminatory practices."
This statement, while particularly directed at women, remains as true, and relevant, today as it was in 1998. The Bar Council’s commitment to ensuring equality of opportunity for all members remains steadfast.
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