Equality and diversity


The Victorian Bar is committed to promoting equality and diversity in the legal profession. This approach is consistent with the principles of justice, integrity, equity and the pursuit of excellence upon which the Bar is founded.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion

The Bar strives to maintain a fair, equitable, dynamic, inclusive and diverse membership. Our commitment to inclusion and diversity is demonstrated by the delivery of programs and activities which foster:

The Bar recognises that its strength and vibrancy come from having a diverse and egalitarian membership, where a variety of views are encouraged, accommodated and respected. At an individual level, members are encouraged to use their abilities in the best way possible and make a real contribution to the legal profession, as well as broader society.

Assistance to barristers and members of the public

There are several ways the Bar fosters inclusion and diversity within its membership and wider community:

  • The Bar consists of many committees with a specific focus on inclusion and diversity, such as the Equality & Diversity Committee, Health and Wellbeing Committee, Human Rights Committee and Indigenous Justice Committee. Their education programs, lobbying, government submissions and other initiatives are of great value to the Bar and wider community.
  • The Women’s Barristers’ Association is group that is open to all members of the Bar. Its mandate includes, amongst other things, to advance equality for women across the legal profession.
  • The Bar is committed to reducing instances of bullying, harassment and discrimination and has policies in place to counteract these unacceptable forms of behaviour.

Information about how we deliver on our commitment to diversity and inclusion is summarised in the Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion brochure available here.

Complaints relating to sexual harrassment, discrimination and bullying

A number of resources are available to members of the Bar who believe they have been affected by discrimination, workplace bullying or sexual harassment.

The Victorian Bar has a formal complaints procedure. Under the Legal Profession Uniform Conduct (Barrister) Rules 2015, sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying by barristers is prohibited in the course of practice. The Bar's Grievance Protocol gives the Ethics committee guidance on dealing with these grievances.

Confidential complaints of bullying, discrimination or sexual harassment may also be made. Victorian Bar Conciliators have been trained by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission to conciliate these complaints.

Anonymous reports can be made to better inform training and awareness needs and initiatives of the Bar.

The Judicial Commission of Victoria is an independent body established to investigate complaints about judicial offices and VCAT members.

Help and counselling services

Victorian Bar Health & Wellbeing Services

The Bar’s Health & Wellbeing Committee’s primary goal is to promote the good health and wellbeing of barristers. The Bar funds two independent counselling services for members and their families. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Lifeline

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue is a national charity that provides help and support for those affected by anxiety and depression. Call 1300 22 4636.