4 Brick Court is committed to actively promoting and advancing equality and diversity. We aim to ensure that this commitment, reinforced by our values, is embedded in our daily working practices with colleagues, clients and third parties.
“Diversity” refers to the fact that individuals are different. “Equality” refers to equality between individuals (Equality Act 2010).
This policy applies to:
All persons coming into contact with chambers will be treated fairly and respectfully. We are committed to equality of opportunity and will not tolerate any form of discrimination on the grounds of an individual’s age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, region or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. These are known as protected characteristics.
4 Brick Court has appointed one equality and diversity officer (EDO), Sarah Barber; the EDO, assisted by Sophie Crampton and Previn Jagutpal and the chambers Senior Practice Manager, is responsible for:
To facilitate the implementation of this policy, 4 Brick Court will:
Recruitment and Selection
4 Brick Court is an equal opportunities employer committed to developing diversity amongst its members, pupils and employees.
Advertisements for membership, employment and pupillage opportunities will give clear and accurate information to enable potential applicants to assess their own suitability for the post. 4 Brick Court will, where possible, publish a statement in relation to its commitment to equality and diversity on all vacancy information.
Advertisements will not express or imply preferences linked with protected characteristics, save for circumstances where Chambers is pursuing lawful positive action.
All selection will be carried out against defined criteria and will only assess the candidate’s suitability for the vacant position. All those involved in the selection and recruitment processes will be suitably trained using the Bar Council “Fair Recruitment Guide” principles.
Fair Access to Work
The distribution of work to all members of chambers, working pupils and squatters shall be carried out in a manner that is fair to all and without discrimination.
Chambers’ practice team will not accede to discriminatory instructions from professional clients, whether solicitors or other instructing agents. Counsel may be selected only on the basis of the skills and experience required for a particular case. If a solicitor or instructing agent refuses to withdraw a discriminatory instruction, it will be reported at once to the Head of Chambers, who will report it to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.
Equality and Diversity Monitoring & Review
The selection of pupils is monitored by reference to race, disability and gender in accordance with the procedures set out in the Pupillage Policy. The anonymous data is analysed by the pupillage committee and EDOs. An action plan will be formulated to address any shortcomings identified.
The distribution of work between second-six pupils and junior tenants is monitored by the senior clerk in consultation with the head of pupillage and EDO, who will ensure that the distribution of work is carried out in a manner that is fair to all and without discrimination.
Chambers will regularly review the allocation of unassigned work to ensure that such work is distributed to members of Chambers fairly and without discrimination.
Where Chambers seeks to recruit tenants and staff, monitoring data by race, disability, and gender shall be collected on the Equality and Diversity Monitoring Forms set out in the Appendix. Copies of application forms/letters of application and Equality and Diversity Monitoring Forms shall be retained for a period of at least two years from the date of receipt.
Complaints and Grievances
Any member, pupil, or employee who wishes to raise an equal opportunities or diversity issue should raise it with one of the EDOs. That EDO may discuss the issue or refer it to another EDO.
If, in the opinion of the EDOs, the issue should be dealt with as a complaint, they may, with the consent of the person who raised the matter, refer the complaint to the Head of Chambers so that the procedures set out in the chambers’ grievance policy may be adopted to investigate the complaint.
If the matter is not raised as a complaint, then the EDOs will carry out all necessary investigations into the issue and give all relevant persons the opportunity to state their opinion on the issue. On completion of the investigation, the EDOs will report in writing their findings to the person who raised the issue and to the management committee. The report will include details of any changes to Chambers’ policies or practices which the EDOs consider should be implemented by Chambers as a result of their investigation.
All conversations and documents relating to any issue will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent necessary for the investigation of the issue.
The EDO’s will keep a record of every issue raised in accordance with this policy showing:-
Any client, visitor or contractor who wishes to raise a complaint in relation to an equality and diversity issue should do so by using the chambers’ client complaints procedure, which can be accessed here.
This policy will be reviewed every two years or sooner if legal or regulatory requirements are implemented. The policy will be reviewed by one of the chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officers. The date of the next policy review will be February 2020.