The Bar Association supports a fair, equitable, dynamic, inclusive and diverse Bar which continues to attract and retain the best male and female talent. One way it does this is by actively promoting the aims of the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy, launched by the Law Council of Australia (LCA) in June 2016 and formally adopted by the Bar Association in September 2016.
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 Bar Association’s Diversity and Equality Committee and the Women Barristers Forum have worked together to develop the resources below, as well as a strategic implementation plan for the Bar Association, which Bar Council has adopted and which is available here. This sets out a road map for implementation, monitoring and review of the policy by the Bar Association over the next three years. 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 sending an email as set out at the LCA website.
The resources outlined below, including the FAQs, provide more information as to how and why to adopt the policy. Finally, the Bar Association is a briefing entity under the policy. In that capacity, having adopted the policy, it must make all reasonable endeavours to brief or select women barristers with relevant seniority and expertise, experience or interest in relevant practice areas, to collect data in respect of its briefs and to provide a report on the collected data to the LCA each year.
To assist in adopting the policy and implementing the policy requirements, the Law Council of Australia issued an updated Reporting Template and Guidelines in June 2020.
The updated Guidelines provide further clarity around issues including:
- Who is a senior barrister;
- Which briefs are captured by the Policy reporting requirements;
- How the value of briefs is to be recorded;
- The reporting requirements for late adoptees of the policy;
- How Policy adoptees should report when their status has changed during the reporting period; and
- How to report when a barrister was briefed as a mediator.
The Bar Association as a briefing entity
The Bar Association adopted the National Model Equitable Briefing Policy on 1 September 2016.
In adopting the policy, briefing entities commit to providing a confidential annual report on their briefing practices and measures taken to implement the Policy to the Law Council by 30 September each year. The Law Council will subsequently collate the data provided and produce a final report of figures for publication. Data will be aggregated and published information will not disclose identifying information.
The Law Council has developed an online portal to assist organisations and counsel to provide their annual report following the end of each financial year. Reporting for the 2019-20 financial year is now open and will close on 30 September 2020. The reporting period is from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.
Barristers can submit their 2019-2020 report here
You may contact the Bar Association on 9232 4055.