The Victorian Bar is a busy, thriving community comprising barristers, clerks and support staff. It is in part made up of barristers and staff who identify as members of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and gender diverse, Intersex, Queer and Questioning (LGBTIQ) communities. Along with LGBTIQ solicitors and members of the judiciary, they form part of an increasingly diverse and inclusive legal profession.
The Victorian Bar LGBTIQ Working Group is a support and networking group for LGBTIQ barristers and allies. It is a volunteer sub-committee of the Equality & Diversity Committee of the Bar Council. Anyone is welcome to join the Working Group.
The aims of the Working Group are to:
The Working Group has established a WhatsApp Group for LGBTIQ members of the Victorian Bar to share information and resources and to offer each other support and social connection.
The Rainbow Social Group regularly holds social events for LGBTIQ barristers and allies, as well as collaborates with other organisations to hold events for the wider legal profession.
The Victorian Bar is committed to eliminating discrimination in the legal profession, and its members seek that the Bar reflect the wider society that it serves, including LGBTIQ communities. Only by doing this can the Victorian Bar also ensure that the best candidates join and remain a part of it, irrespective of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
Like many other Australian workplaces, the Victorian Bar strives to be free from discrimination & harassment. The LGBTIQ working group, equality and diversity committee, and our many allies at the Bar are working to eliminate homophobia, transphobia, prejudice, bias, stigma and exclusion from the Bar and legal profession generally.
Relevant Laws, Rules and Policies
The following State and Commonwealth laws apply to barristers and staff at the Victorian Bar:
Additionally, under the Legal Profession Uniform Conduct (Barrister) Rules 2015, barristers must not engage in conduct that constitutes discrimination, sexual harassment or bullying in the course of or in connection with legal practice or their profession, including at social functions connected with the bar or profession, or in interactions with a person which whom the barrister has or has had a professional relationship.
The Victorian Bar also has a policy prohibiting discrimination, including on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Where you can go for help if you experience discrimination or harassment at the Victorian Bar
Victorian Bar Guide to Changing the Working Environment for LGBTIQ People (2020)
Australian Government: Style Manual: Gender and sexual diversity (last updated June 2022)
Diversity Council Australia: Out at Work: From Prejudice to Pride (2018)
Law Council of Australia: Making your legal practice LGBTI+ friendly
Australian Institute of Family Studies: Inclusive communication with LGBTIQ+ clients (February 2022)
Australian Institute of Family Studies: LGBTIQA+ glossary of common terms (February 2022)
ACON - A language guide: Trans and gender diverse inclusion (March 2019)
Pride in Diversity - Employers’ Guide to Intersex Inclusion (2014)