Being at the bar

The Honourable Mary Gaudron QC
The Honourable Mary Gaudron QC


Aside from the WBF, there are a number of valuable support structures for women barristers.


On 19 June 2014 the Bar Council approved the  Best Practice Guidelines. These form a set of Guidelines which reflect best practice in professional conduct and compliance with NSW and Commonwealth laws.

Of particular interest to the WBF are the clear articulation of policies in relation to bullying and harassment and parental leave.

The Best Practice Guidelines reflect the Bar Associations commitment to equality and diversity and the Bar Association has encouraged all chambers to adopt the Guidelines.

List of chambers that have adopted the  Best Practice Guidelines.

Download the  Best Practice Guidelines.


The WBF, the Equal Opportunity Committee and the Bar Association in conjunction with McCarthy Mentoring run a mentoring program for all barristers in their second year of practice. At the end of their reading year all barristers are invited to join the mentoring program and are paired with a senior barrister. For more information please contact The New South Wales Bar Association.


In June 2004 Bar Council formally adopted the Law Council's  Model Equal Opportunity Briefing Policy for Female Barristers and Advocates, which draws upon a policy drafted by the Equal Opportunity Committee and approved by the Bar Association on 23 October 2003. The purpose of the Policy is to bring a greater number of female barristers into contact with solicitors and others who are looking to brief counsel. In addition to the New South Wales Bar Association, the Policy has been adopted by federal and state governments, and numerous law firms and organisations who brief counsel directly.

The Policy states that, in selecting counsel, all reasonable endeavours should be made to:

  1. identify female counsel with experience in the relevant practice area;
  2. genuinely consider engaging such counsel; 
  3. regularly monitor and review the engagement of female counsel; and
  4. periodically report on the nature and rate of engagement of female counsel.

Solicitors, barristers and clerks play a large role in the effective operation of the Policy. It requires those who adopt the policy to include female counsel among the names of counsel they identify in the relevant practice area under inquiry when consulted by clients, briefing firms and briefing agencies.

The Policy recommends that briefing firms, agencies and where applicable, barristers' clerks should develop the capacity to collect data and report upon that data so as to identify the nature and rate of engagement of female counsel.

WBF guide to implementing the Equitable Briefing Policy

Since 2014, the WBF has been working in conjunction with the Bar Association on the Equitable Briefing Working Party. The Working Party was established as part of the Bar Association's response to the Law Council's National Attrition and Re-engagement Study.


The Bar Council has reserved places at the Martin Place Early Learning Centre for Bar Association members. The Centre is located at level 1, 39 Martin Place. More information can be found on the  Bar Association's website.


BarCare is an independent, confidential, professional counselling service designed to assist members of the New South Wales Bar manage emotional and stress-related problems, such as marital breakdowns, drug or alcohol dependency and practice pressures. BarCare is available to all members of the Bar Association and their immediate families.

BarCare is sponsored by the Bar Association.


As part of the Bar Association’s response to the National Attrition and Re-Engagement Study (NARS) Report the WBF has been requested to create an Alumnae association.

To this end the WBF needs your help. If you know of any female former barristers please contact the members of the Bar Alumnae Subcommittee

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