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Equality & Diversity

Lincoln’s Inn is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in carrying out its functions.

Equality & Diversity Policy 

It is the policy of Lincoln’s Inn not to discriminate in the exercise of its functions against any person on grounds of: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation i.e. ‘the protected characteristics’.

This policy applies to the performance of the Inn’s functions by their officers, members and staff.

In the application of this policy:

  • the definitions of discrimination and discrimination by way of victimisation
  • the prohibition on instructions and inducements to discriminate; and,
  • the circumstances in which an employer or principal may be vicariously responsible for discriminatory acts of others

set out in the Equality Act 2010 (‘the Act’) shall apply.

Disabled Persons

Lincoln’s Inn will have regard to the needs of disabled persons and will comply with such provisions of the Act and of Regulations made under it as may be enforced from time to time and which apply to it.  Lincoln’s Inn will review its policy in the light of such Regulations and of any Code of Practice which may be issued under the Act.

The Purpose of the Policy and Codes

Lincoln’s Inn expects all its officers, members and staff in exercising their functions for the Inn to comply with this Equality & Diversity policy, and the Inn’s obligations under the Act. In adopting this policy Lincoln’s Inn does not intend to confer or limit any legal rights or expectations, whether contractual or otherwise. This policy may be withdrawn or altered at any time.

Statutory Obligations

Discrimination on grounds of the protected characteristics is rendered unlawful in certain defined situations by the Equality Act 2010.

The provisions which are particularly relevant to an Inn of Court are those which apply to it:

  • as a body which confers qualifications
  • as an employer
  • as a provider of facilities and services to its members, the Bar generally and to members of the public
  • as a provider of vocational training

Anybody acting on behalf of the Inn must not unlawfully discriminate against or harass other people including current and former employees, job applicants, members, suppliers and visitors. This applies within the Inn, outside the Inn (when dealing with members, suppliers or other work-related contacts, and on work-related trips or events including social events.

The following forms of discrimination are prohibited under this policy and are unlawful:

(a) Direct discrimination: treating someone less favourably because of a protected characteristic. For example, rejecting a job applicant because of their religious views or because they might be gay.

(b) Indirect discrimination: a provision, criterion or practice that applies to everyone but adversely affects people with a particular protected characteristic more than others, and is not justified. For example, requiring a job to be done full-time rather than part-time would adversely affect women because they generally have greater childcare commitments than men. Such a requirement would be discriminatory unless it can be justified.

(c) Harassment: this includes sexual harassment and other unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

(d) Victimisation: retaliation against someone who has complained or has supported someone else’s complaint about discrimination or harassment.

(e) Disability discrimination: this includes direct and indirect discrimination, any unjustified less favourable treatment because of the effects of a disability, and failure to make reasonable adjustments to alleviate disadvantages caused by a disability.


The news these days is producing a constant stream of stories of inappropriate behaviour and language and sexual harassment. Of particular concern to any responsible institution are the instances which indicate improper ingrained attitudes and abuses of power. At the other end of the scale there may be inadvertently inappropriate behaviour or remarks that can be more easily resolved.

The Inn is carefully considering whether, and if so how, our existing policies and processes should be strengthened.

We encourage our members who have concerns  about anything of this nature to raise them with Anne Sharp, Under Treasurer or with Faye Appleton, Director of Education. They are able to discuss any concerns you may have in complete confidence, as is Sheila Watson, the Inn’s Preacher. They can help you to decide whether any action is appropriate, or just provide a sympathetic hearing and helpful advice on a confidential basis. The decision can be entirely yours.

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