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Diversity & Inclusion

Lincoln’s Inn is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion, both within the barristers’ profession and as an employer. We have recently carried out a review of our Equality and Diversity Policy and have published our new Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement.  We are working on our EDI action plan and this will be published by the end of this year.

Our EDI work is overseen by the EDI Committee.  The committee has responsibility for developing, overseeing and monitoring implementation of EDI strategy for the Inn, developing and supporting EDI initiatives directed at widening access to the profession, strengthening diversity and inclusion at the Inn, and supporting members from diverse backgrounds in their professional careers and development.

The EDI Committee members:

  • Chair: Chief Chancery Master Karen Shuman

Benchers:

  • Her Honour Judge Mensah
  • Caroline Harrison QC
  • David Mohyuddin QC
  • Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos
  • Brie Stevens-Hoare QC
  • Jo Sidhu QC
  • Neil Chawla
  • Sir Paul Morgan
  • Thomas Barrett
  • Liz Isaacs

Barristers:

  • Natasha Shotunde
  • Chris Loweth
  • Fiona Whiteside
  • Laura Gould

Student Representative:

  • Ross McQuillan-Johnson

The committee was established in 2021, replacing the EDI Steering Group.  In due course, the committee will publish its action plan for the year ahead.

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement

The Inn is committed to diversity, openness, and inclusion. We will work to create a diverse and inclusive environment for our members and employees, in which everyone feels welcomed, supported and confident about being themselves whatever their characteristics or background.  Through our actions and our example, we will encourage equality, diversity, and inclusion at all levels of the profession.

Diversity of opinion and of backgrounds underpins the independence of the Bar. But diversity can only flourish in an inclusive environment.  We recognise that we have an important role in shaping the future composition of the Bar by educating and supporting our students. This gives us both a special responsibility and an exciting opportunity to advance diversity and inclusion within the profession.

This statement is our commitment to how we will model the behaviours that we promote.

What we think

  • We will achieve the Inn’s purpose by improving and continuing to advance diversity and inclusion.
  • Each level of our membership should reflect a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences, views, and perspectives.
  • We recognise and value the unique characteristics and backgrounds of our members and have a responsibility to understand their individual experiences and needs.
  • We should raise awareness about under-represented groups and the issues they face while working to improve representation within the profession.

What we will do

  • We recognise that talent is widespread, but opportunity is not. We will create, promote, and encourage opportunities in the Inn and profession for people who are under-represented.
  • We will create an inclusive culture in which everyone – regardless of background or identity – can reach their full potential.
  • We will work to ensure that the Inn is an environment in which everyone is valued and respected, free from harassment and discrimination.
  • We will listen and be open to discussion, so that members feel comfortable in expressing independent views in the expectation of open conversation.

How we will do it

  • We will be proactive in tackling discrimination and disadvantage in all forms within the Inn and will work with those who share our views in addressing issues across the profession.
  • We will proactively identify, challenge, and eliminate unfair and inappropriate barriers and behaviours in our policies, processes, and decision-making.
  • We will encourage those from the widest possible range of identities and backgrounds to consider a career at the Bar and support them in doing so.
  • We will continue to support the work of our many members and other organisations who share our goal of developing a more inclusive Bar.

Our EDI Action Plan will prioritise the steps needed to deliver this statement of intent.  We will monitor progress, keeping both the Action Plan and this Statement under review.

Harassment

The Inns are committed to providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect. Harassment in any form will not be tolerated by the Inns.

The Inns of Court Anti-Harassment Policy applies to all members of the Inns of Court at all levels (including students) and extends to activities beyond the Inns’ premises as well as electronic communications.

Individuals who feel that they have been subject to harassment or inappropriate conduct in connection with the activities of the Inn (or witnesses to the harassment of others) should make initial contact with the Under Treasurer of the Inn, or another designated Inn employee.

Designated Lincoln’s Inn employees are Rani Batra (Education Services Manager) and Andrew Smith (Registrar).  They can be contacted by email or by phone on 02074051393.

We value our inclusivity and both educational and social engagement with our members. If things are not going well, we need to know.

We are currently redrafting our complaints policy and procedure.  In the meantime, if you wish to raise a formal complaint please contact the Under Treasurer, Anne Sharp, or the Assistant Under Treasurer, Murray Campbell, or the Director of Membership & Education, Faye Appleton.

If you are experiencing harassment outside of the Inn’s activities, we would recommend you consider using the Bar Council’s confidential reporting tool called Talk to Spot. This tool allows you to record and (if required) report inappropriate behaviour, bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Diversity & Inclusion Forum

In 2018, the Inn held its first Women’s Forum. Throughout 2018 and 2019, a number of Forum events were held. These events were largely focused around the 100-year anniversary of the opening up of the legal professions to women. In 2020, we took the decision to expand this Forum, with the aim of covering a wider range of diversity and inclusion issues.

The Forum events are overseen by our EDI Committee. Upcoming Forum events can be found on our What’s On page and recordings of some of our previous Forums can be found on our Media page.

Resources

The Bar Standards Board publishes their equality and diversity objectives and strategy on their website.

The Bar Council offers lots of support and advice for barristers and chambers on equality, diversity, and inclusion. Full information is available on their website but in particular we would like to highlight their helplines and bullying and harassment support. The Bar Council offers confidential helplines devoted to equality and diversity issues (020 7611 1426) and supporting pupils (020 7611 1415).  As well as these helplines, the Bar Council have a confidential reporting tool called Talk to Spot. This is an online tool for confidentially reporting instances of bullying, harassment and discrimination, to give the profession a secure, constructive process for dealing with such behaviour. The Spot tool allows you to record and (if required) report inappropriate behaviour, bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Diversity in the Profession

There are a number of special interest networks across the Bar. You can find details of a number of them on the Bar Council’s website.

We are keen to work with and support special interest networks at the Bar. Should you want to discuss how we can work with your network please contact Beth Williams.