Western Circuit

Western Circuit Women’s Forum

Pushing for equality on the Western Circuit and beyond: campaigning, researching, networking, mentoring

“…better representation and advancement of women barristers on the Western Circuit.”

The Western Circuit Women’s Forum was set up in 2015 with three simple aims:

  • To improve the lot of women barristers on the Western Circuit.
  • To encourage and help more Western Circuit women to stay at the Bar.
  • To encourage and help more Western Circuit women to become KC’s or judges.

Why were we set up? Because much like the rest of the country we have a stark imbalance of the sexes in the senior ranks and it is a serious problem. The Bar Council Momentum Measures Report of 2015 concluded that on current patterns equality could never be achieved “The attrition is such that it would require a very long period of substantial imbalance in favour of women at Call to achieve a balance of women in practice.”

The WCWF does not require membership, but welcomes participation and ideas from all Circuiteers and has a steering group of eleven: one Circuit Judge, one silk (who is also a Mental Health Judge), and nine juniors (one whom is a Deputy District Judge and Mental Health Judge) in different disciplines, different calls and from all corners of the Circuit.

The WCWF runs social, networking and training events, has commissioned research projects and coordinates lobbying on issues that affect women barristers.

We liaise with other organisations such as the Bar Council and CBA about policy and working practices, and with the KC Secretariat and Judicial Appointments Commission to ensure we can provide help with career progression.

Importantly we run the Circuit-based mentoring scheme for women barristers under 10 years’ call. The WCWF is funded by the Western Circuit and the Inns of Court.

When the WCWF started in 2015, the Statistics from the Bar Council showed that women had made up 50% of people called to the Bar since 2000. However, only 31% of barristers were over 15 years call and only 14.8% of all QC’s (now KC’s) were women.

Have those figures changed substantively since that time? Has the percentage of women called translated to women at the senior end of the Bar? The most recent figures from the Bar Council show that the figures are moving, albeit very slowly, in the right direction. There is a higher proportion of women who start pupillage than men, in 2022, there were only 24 more men than women  at under 5 years’ call (out of those who identified as male and female).

However, there is a noticable disparity between those over 15 years’ call with almost double the number of male in comparison to female practitioners. The numbers for men and women have barely changed at all since 2018, save that there has been a small increase in women practitioners over 15 years’ call but there has also been a small increase in male practitioners over 15 years’ call. To further compound matters, KC’s who are women stands at approximately 400 – which is shocking when compared to the approximately 1500 KC’s who are men.

But what of the judiciary? Back in 2016, only 21% of court judges on the Western Circuit were women which rose to 24% in 2019. The 2022 statistics showed that, nationally, women made up 35% of court judges and 30% of senior court judges (High Court and above). However, women only made up 30% of judges in the South-West.

There has been another incremental rise for the representation of women in the judiciary for 2023. Women constitute 42% of all judges nationally. However, women accounted for 50% of the eligible pool and 51% of recommendations in legal judicial selection exercises. The 2023 statistics showed that, nationally, in the courts, women made up 37% of court judges and 30% of judges in more senior posts (High Court and above) – a slight change from 2022. The highest level of representation for women was among the County Court judges (District Judges and Deputy District Judges) at 45%. However, in tribunals, women accounted for more than half (53%) of the most senior roles (Presidents).

The 2023 judicial diversity statistics also demonstrated that men dominate senior positions across the legal professions despite gains in female representation over the past decade. Even though more women are entering the professions, men still tend to have greater years of experience. Amongst barristers, half (51%) of men have 20+ years’ post-qualification experience compared to a third (34%) of women; and, men are nearly three times more likely to be at a higher (King’s Counsel) seniority level than women (15% compared to 6%).

Women only made up 32% of judges in the South-West which means that the Western Circuit STILL remains behind the (albeit still woeful) national picture. The 2024 statistics are due to be released in July.

We have had our successes on Circuit and a small improvement in the figures is evident but whilst there can be no doubt that, in recent years, the importance of equality at the Bar has been recognised and real efforts have been made to improve the figures; the pace of change is snail-like. At this rate, it will be at least another 25-30 years before there is parity of women at the Bar over 15 years’ call; and closer to 50 years before women can boast of hard won equality of KC’s and judges.

There is no trickle up effect; women are still leaving more readily than their male colleagues. This cannot simply be attributed to women ‘choosing’ not to work: the employed Bar boasts far better representation of women: some 48% of employer barristers are women, compared to 36% at the self-employed Bar. There are clearly factors embedded in self employed practice which make it difficult for some women to remain.

The WCWF remains committed to the importance of women mentoring women and of encouraging women to stay with their career and progress as they should.

Women also appear to continue to be substantially underrepresented throughout the Criminal Justice System compared with males. You can read the latest MoJ statistics here.

The Western Circuit Women’s Forum Mentoring Scheme RELAUNCH

ARE YOU FACING A PROFESSIONAL OR PERSONAL CHALLENGE WHILST JUGGLING YOUR CAREER AT THE BAR? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WOULD BENEFIT FROM A MENTOR THAT HAS DEALT WITH YOUR PARTICULAR ISSUE?

You may recall that when you first joined the Western Circuit, if you were under 10 years’ call, you were allocated a mentor. We know that many of you have gone on to forge fantastic mentor/mentee relationships which is wonderful. We hope those relationships continue! We also know that some of you found it difficult to keep those lines of communications open in the midst of hectic professional and personal lives (entirely understandably).

Following lots of discussion amongst the WCWF steering committee, and with others involved in the scheme, we have decided to try something different. We intend to launch a “needs based” mentoring programme which won’t be limited to those under 10 years’ call, but will be open to all. It is anticipated that circuit members who feel they need to speak with someone, who has also been through whatever it is they are dealing with, can be linked up with a mentor who will work with the member for a period of time.

A “need” may be related to work, so for example applying for a judicial appointment, or for silk, or even returning to work after maternity leave. It may even be related to a challenging life stage such going through a divorce, dealing with a child with additional needs, or caring for an elderly parent. We know how difficult it can be to manage a busy practice through difficult times.

A short while ago, we put out a plea for willing mentor volunteers and we are delighted to tell you we now have a wonderfully wide pool of circuiteers keen to bestow their wisdom and experience on any of you who might benefit from it.

Therefore, if you feel that you might value the input of a fellow member of circuit please reply to this email with your contact details, your need(s)/area of concern, and how you would prefer the mentoring to take place (e.g. remote, in person). We ask you please then to bear with us whilst we attempt to play matchmaker from our current selection of mentors. We will then contact a prospective mentor with your request and thereafter put you both in touch with each other.

We look forward to hearing from you and look forward to making our new mentoring scheme a great success. Email us today at wcwf@westerncircuit.co.uk.

Got 5 minutes? To help us spread the word even further about our mentoring scheme, we are encouraging all Chambers and courts to put up our mentoring poster in communal areas in Chambers and robing/advocates’ rooms at court. You can find our poster here.

The WCWF Steering Committee

The Steering Group is made up of women of varying seniority, who practice in different practice and geographical areas, and, with the help of other women on the Western Circuit, believe we should and can do something to change ‘The Figures’. We don’t suggest we have all the answers but we hope our own experiences, both professionally and personally, may give us some insight into issues facing women barristers.

  • Selena Plowden KC is a Clinical Negligence practitioner at Guildhall Chambers, Bristol, called 1991. She also sits as a Mental Health Judge. She has three, no longer small, children. Selena is Co-Chair of the WCWF.
  • Emma Cross is a family barrister at Magdalen Chambers, called in 2017. Emma is Co-Chair of the WCWF and can be found gig rowing in her spare time.
  • Tacey Cronin was called in 1982 and is now a Bristol Family Court CJ. She has three daughters who have all left home but still talk to her.
  • Catherine Flint became a tenant at Queen Square, Bristol in 2016 and has two children and cats.
  • Caighli Taylor was called in 2010. She is based at Guildhall Chambers and specialises in crime.
  • Charlotte Davies is a civil barrister at KBG Chambers, called in 2007. She sits as a DDJ and Mental Health Judge. Charlotte has two children and five step-children. Charlotte also does a sterling job with our social media.
  • Liberty Crawford is a family practitioner at Magdalen Chambers in Exeter. She was called to the Bar in 2019.
  • Berenice Mulvanny was called in 2009 and is a criminal practitioner at 3 Paper Buildings based in Winchester. Berenice has recently been appointed as a Deputy District Judge. She is married with two children and a sausage dog.
  • Rachel Bennett was educated at state school before being called to the Bar in 2002 and becoming a “lone parent” in 2004. In 2008, Rachel cross-qualified as a Solicitor and took up pupillage in 2018. Rachel now combines her role as a mum and carer of a disabled child, with her role as a specialist family law barrister at Magdalen Chambers.
  • We are also delighted to welcome Lucy Conroy (12CP Chambers) and Jenny Kumeta (KBG Chambers) to the Steering Group this year. More details on them to follow!
  • WCWF Alumnae Chairs: Kate Brunner KC (former Leader of the Western Circuit), Jo Martin KC (current Leader of the Western Circuit), District Judge Goodall and District Judge Mashembo. We are indebted to them for their inspirational involvement and leadership of the WCWF.

NEXT EVENT: ‘ASK A JUDGE’ with the Lady Chief Justice – 21 May 2024 Winchester Combined Court

 

21 March 2024, The Wig & Pen, Truro

Thank you to everyone who joined us for drinks and networking in Truro.

Congratulations Berenice!

The WCWF is very proud of its very own Berenice Mulvanny who has recently been appointed as a Deputy District Judge. We wish her every success in her new role.

‘Cheering Women Onto Silk’ February 2024

Charlotte Davies, mentoring co-ordinator with Berenice Mulvanny, has written an article for Counsel Magazine’s Silk Supplement about the importance of mentoring for women at the Bar and the relaunched WCWF mentoring scheme. You can read her article here.

WCWF Spring Socials 2023

We were delighted to be joined by Mrs Justice Cutts (Presiding Judge on the Western Circuit) and Mrs Justice Judd (Family Division Liaison Judge on the Western Circuit) for social events which took place in March in Truro and May in Exeter.

We are very grateful to Mrs Justice Cutts and Mrs Justice Judd for taking time out of their busy schedules to meet with local practitioners and to listen to our concerns in a relaxed setting.

We hope to hold more events like this in future. Keep an eye on our website, Twitter and LinkedIn for more updates. If you would like to be added to our mailing list then please email wcwf@westerncircuit.co.uk

Ask a Judge Evening: Friday 20 May 5-7pm 

Career Progression and Judicial Applications 

We were delighted to hold our first post-lockdowns in person event at Exeter Combined Courts. Over 40 people attended including local practitioners and students.

A huge thank you to our incredible panel of speakers: The Rt Hon Dame Victoria Sharp DBE, The Hon Mrs Justice Johanna Cutts, HHJ Cronin, HHJ Richardson, Miss Recorder Martin KC, DDJ Mashembo and Kate Blackburn. Your words were an inspiration to us all.

Our thanks also go to HHJ Johnson for giving up his court room for the event, the court staff for their assistance and Lisa Lyons (Magdalen Chambers) for the excellent array of food and drinks. Stay tuned for our next event!

WCWF Social 20 January 2022

Thank you so much to everyone who attended our social on Thursday. It was wonderful to catch up with you all and to hear about your practice areas at the moment. Thank you also to our new acting Chairs Jo Martin QC and Carol Mashembo. Our former Chair, Rachael Goodall, has been appointed as a District Judge on the Western Circuit and we wish her the very best of luck in her new role.

The views of practitioners remain mixed about the advantages and disadvantages of working from home and returning to mainly in person hearings. There is also uncertainty regarding the variation in approach by local court centres to remote and in person hearings. We will be planning an update to our original 2018 ‘Back to the Bar’ research paper later this year. This will take into account the impact of Covid-19 and whether or not retention for women at the Bar has improved over the space of five years.

We continue to remain in support of all women practitioners on Circuit. If you would like to talk to us about anything affecting your practice at the moment then you can email wcwf@westerncircuit.co.uk; DM us on Twitter @WCWF_, or message us on LinkedIn. We are here for you.

BACK TO BUSINESS: 99½ won’t do (or will it)? 29 September 2021

A big thank you to Tim Collins (https://asktim.org/; @wowthankyoutim) for his  inspirational and motivational talk focused on the next steps to take in career progression, whether that be judicial, silk or moving into new areas of law, and the dreaded imposter syndrome. You can read/watch Tim’s materials here and a recording of his talk will be posted on our website soon. It was also great to catch up with everyone after Tim’s talk and hear about what is affecting women barristers at the moment.

Tim has his own consultancy and enjoys mentoring, coaching, training and consulting individuals and organisations to face challenges and move forward. He also has a niche expertise – working closely with lawyers to become judges, take silk and secure senior appointments. Tim is a P&G trained psychology graduate and has built his skills and knowledge from over 30 years of working with and leaning from a really diverse set of people, businesses, groups and situations.  All of Tim’s proceeds from the WCWF for his talk will go to his chosen charity, Simon On The Streets https://www.simononthestreets.co.uk/.

Judicial and Silk Applications with Kate Brunner KC 

On 13 May 2021, we were delighted to have Kate Brunner KC, Leader of the Western Circuit and former WCWF Chair host an informative and eminently helpful webinar focussing on the competencies which feature in judicial and silk applications. We also used break-out rooms to specifically focus on applications for judicial and tribunal posts; and applying for Silk. Kate held one-to-one sessions with several attendees.

‘Lockdown Challenges for the Bar’ 12 January 2021

Thank you to all judges and practitioners who attended our webinar in January.  We heard first hand how things were on the ground in light of the then recent lockdown and came up with solutions. We are pleased to report that a strong message has come out from the Senior Judiciary on the Western Circuit reminding all judges of the difficulties for court users, including Counsel and advocates, to conduct their work alongside caring responsibilities during this pandemic.

If you have experienced any difficulties with listing arrangements, timings during cases or deadlines that you feel unable to comply with, please get in touch with the WCWF via a DM at @WCWF_ or email us at WCWF@westerncircuit.co.uk

Paperless Working: Tips, Tricks and Essential Hacks  12 November 2020 

We had a fantastic turnout for this event, including local judges. A big thank you to our speakers, Elizabeth Bowden (College Chambers) and Kriti Upadhyay (Guildhall Chambers) who provided some much needed enlightenment to help us all through working remotely from home and beyond!

You can watch the seminar back and download the slides any time. We will be running similar events in the future, including for criminal practitioners so please watch this space…

Work, Wellbeing and Wine

Thank you to everyone who joined us on 8 October 2020 for our Zoom event. We enjoyed catching up with everyone and hearing about how things are on the ground for you. We were inspired to set up an IT Masterclass (watch this space) and talked about how to juggle family life and work – top tip: do a fake commute – go for a power walk before court and after court (from home!)

Career Progression, Competencies and Catch-up

Thank you to everyone who attended our Zoom event on 5 June 2020. Thank you to our guest speaker, Kate Brunner KC, Leader of the Western Circuit and former Chair of the WCWF. We enjoyed chatting with everyone afterwards and hearing about the latest concerns of practitioners as we start a cautious return to court. 

Poonam Bhari, a family barrister at 3PB, sent us some lovely feedback afterwards:

“I just wanted to email you to say how great I think the WCWF meetings are. In a way I am glad they are by zoom, which has enabled someone like me to be able to participate.

Today was the second time I have joined and I am really impressed by the camaraderie, goodwill, encouragement, leadership and support that you and others have shown.

You provide a safe space for women to talk about what we are experiencing and to share ideas and for that I thank you.

In my 20 years at the Bar as you can imagine I have attended a lot of meetings but I have found the WCWF meetings to be incredibly supportive and the open invitation by members to provide guidance and support to others is very welcome.”

Don’t forget that you can email us at wcwf@westerncircuit.co.uk at any time with your concerns, for careers related advice or just to let us know how you’re doing. We want to help if we can. Stay safe and stay tuned for our next event!

Becoming healthy, wealthy and wise? The role of mentoring in the legal profession

We we were delighted to have Dr Emma Jones join us for our WCWF Zoom Party on 24th April. We had a great turnout with many concerns being raised about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our practices. This prompted us to write our latest paper: ‘Back to the Bar: The Impact of Covid-19’.

Dr Emma Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Sheffield. Before that she was Teaching Director at The Open University Law School and prior to entering academia she was a solicitor in private practice.  Emma’s research focuses on the role of emotions and wellbeing in legal education and the legal profession, including aspects such as digital lawyering, legal culture and mentoring. She spoke to us about the role of mentoring in the legal profession and how it might help us to become healthy, wealthy and wise.

The Association of Women Barristers: Rachael Goodall attends roundtable discussions

On 30th November 2018, the AWB held roundtable discussions on harassment and bullying. Chaired by HHJ Kaly Kaul QC and Lynne Townley, the discussions resulted in an important report in late 2019: ‘In The Age of ‘Us Too?’: Moving Towards a Zero-Tolerance Attitude to Harassment and Bullying At the Bar‘. Rachael Goodall attended the original discussions on behalf of the WCWF and was impressed by the progressive talks leading to five key recommendations for change:

  1. Change the Dialogue: Male champions/mentors; networking; specialist panels; establishing a national awareness event
  2. Codes and Policies: Chambers to put in place anti-harassment/bullying policies; better/flexible maternity leave policies; flexible clerking regimes
  3. Training: For judges, barristers and clerks about awareness of bullying/harassment; unconscious bias; and equality and diversity
  4. Long-term support for those who report/experience harassment or bullying: Clear processes needed; introduction of a dedicated counselling hotline.
  5.  Better facilities for women and non-binary people at court centres (especially those who are breast-feeding).

WCWF Wellbeing Events 20th November 2019

We had a fantastic turnout for our Wellbeing Events on 20th November 2019. The CEO of Law Care, Elizabeth Rimmer gave an insightful and well received talk in Winchester; those in Bristol enjoyed a talk from a Psychologist on Professional Wellbeing and those in Exeter were crying with laughter with the wonderful Sue Haswell guiding them through some laughter yoga. It was lovely to meet with everyone and enjoy a catch up over some drinks and nibbles. We are grateful to all our sponsors and supporters: 12 College Place; College Chambers; Guildhall Chambers and Magdalen Chambers. Stay tuned for our next event!

WCWF Social May 2019

We held three separate events across Circuit on 16th May 2019. Western Circuiteers relaxed at a garden party hosted by Her Honour Judge Miller KC in Winchester; caught up over drinks at The Severnshed, Bristol and enjoyed drinks and nibbles at The City Gate Hotel, Exeter. The events were well attended and we are extremely grateful to all Chambers who provided sponsorship including Colleton Chambers, Devon Chambers and Walnut House Chambers.

International Women’s Day Conference

We are extremely grateful to everyone who joined us for our conference to celebrate International Women’s Day: ‘Women in Law: Support, Retention and Progression’ on 8th March 2019. You can find a full write-up about the day here. We received some incredible feedback and look forward to organising similar future events:

“I really can’t thank WCWF enough for this conference. I have just come back from maternity leave after my second child, having had a gap off ill between my two children and moved from London to Bristol. So there are so many reasons not to carry on with trying to (re)build a practice at the Bar, but this conference made me feel that it would be worth it and that I must at least continue to try. It was just the right message at the right time for me, and I am really grateful.”

“The conference yesterday was fabulous, thanks so much for organising. What an impressive line up of speakers…I liked the fact that the focus was very much intersectional (or so it seemed to me), and that the themes spoke to women from all backgrounds. Looking forward to the next one!”

“It was a superb three hours packed with inspiring speakers. I though you got the time slots perfectly pitched. I was left wanting to hear even more from each and every one. So much thought had plainly gone into the range of topics you covered. In short, it was everything a successful conference should be. I listened to all the buzz around me in the audience and I know I was not alone in my huge enjoyment of the afternoon.”

In the lead-up to the conference, we launched an essay competition for undergraduate and postgraduate law students studying and training in Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth. The overall winner was Nicole Hilton, an LLB Law student at Bristol University. Congratulations Nicole! You can read her full essay here.

Our Twitter feed is now live! Follow us @WCWF_. We are also on LinkedIn. You can find our social media policy here.

January Drinks 2019

We really enjoyed meeting Western Circuit women barristers at our January Drinks events in Bristol, Plymouth and Winchester. We look forward to hosting similar events in the future. Thank you in particular to Guildhall Chambers for sponsoring our Bristol event and Devon Chambers for hosting the Plymouth event.

CAMPAIGNS

Observations on the Extension of Court Sitting Hours 2020

The HMCTs Covid Operating Hours consultation i.e. Extended Operating Hours closes in late December following a short consultation period. You can read our response here.

We have serious concerns about the suggestion that practitioners could avoid listing difficulties by requesting that hearings take place during standard operating hours if they are unable to attend an extended sitting hours court.

Extended operating hours is discriminatory and will lead to a loss of income and the inevitable consequence of many barristers choosing to leave the profession. We fear that most of these barristers will be women.

#ConsiderTheCarers

Following on from our ‘Back to the Bar: The Impact of Covid-19’ paper we sent copies of our paper and personalised coasters to all Western Circuit Courts and Tribunals in September 2020 asking them to #ConsiderTheCarers. You can read our report and key recommendations here.

We sent coasters designed by Steering Group members Emma Cross and Grace Nicholls to judges and Tribunals across the Western Circuit. We also sold our spare coasters in order to raise funds for the WCF. A big thank you to 2 King’s Bench Walk, Devon Chambers, Guildhall Chambers, and KBG Chambers for supporting our campaign.  The coasters were professionally printed by Merchandise Ltd.

Harassment Reporting Scheme

The WCWF, together with the Education Committee of the Western Circuit, successfully campaigned in 2018 to make amendments to the requirement for the automatic reporting requirement for any barrister who hears of harassment. As a result, the BSB has announced changes, adopting the prototype submitted by the Western Circuit. The Western Circuit set up the first harassment reporting scheme under the BSB waiver rules and produced a proforma to assist other groups who may wish to do the same.

The Bar Council’s secure reporting tool, Talk to Spot, has been revamped and can now be used to report coronavirus-specific concerns – for example around safety when attending court – as well as to report harassment and inappropriate behaviour, as before.

PUBLICATIONS

The WCWF has published many leading papers and guides as part of its role to strive for equality between men and women barristers on the Western Circuit:

Back to the Bar series

We are delighted to announce that we will be commissioning a new ‘Back to the Bar’ research project. Stay tuned for further updates!

‘Back to the Bar: The Impact of Covid-19’ May 2020: We listened to the concerns raised directly with us about the impact of Covid-19 on working practices, especially for primary carers, who are disproportionately women. In this paper, we highlight the risks and recommend practical steps to minimise them. We implore the judiciary, HMCTs and Chambers’ to Consider The Carers.

Back to the Bar Retention and Progression After Parental Leave’ 2019: Short and useful guidance for Chambers, Clerks and barristers including a questionnaire checklist to make your return to work as successful as possible.

Back to the Bar: A Survey of Obstacles, Aids and Recommendations for Parents Returning to the Bar’ 2018: Recommendations on how to ensure those who wish to return to work, are able to return to work

‘Flexible Working Hours’ or ‘Extended Operating Hours’

‘Western Circuit Women’s Forum Observations on Extension of Court Sitting Hours Pilot For Family and Civil Courts 2018/2019’

WCWF Observations on Extension of Court Sitting Hours 2017

Feature in the Financial Times ‘Why female barristers are leaving the profession’: https://www.ft.com/content/97358690-6a9e-11e9-80c7-60ee53e6681

Other useful resources

Response to the Coronavirus Income Support Scheme March 2020

Wellbeing and Financial Resources Guide

WCWF ‘in the news’

Featured in Counsel Magazine October 2023: https://www.barcouncil.org.uk/resource/the-western-circuit-women-s-forum.html

https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/women-at-the-bar-in-2020

https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/the-point-of-circuit

https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/cornwall-barrister-jo-martin-talks-1327477

Back to the Bar series

Featured on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0002hxw

Featured by Exeter University: https://law.exeter.ac.uk/newsandevents/news/articles/thewesterncircuitwomensfor.php

Featured in Counsel Magazine:

https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/what-the-bar-must-do-to-retain-women-by-circuit-diversity-group

https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/consider-the-carers-the-impact-of-covid-19

https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/equitable-briefing

Calling out harassment at the Bar

Article by WCWF co-Chair Selena Plowden KC and Kate Brunner KC (former WCWF Chair and Leader of the Western Circuit): https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/timesup-calling-it-out-the-bar

Article for Counsel Magazine by Kate Brunner KC and others https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/ending-harassment-men-welcome-to-the-conversation!

WCWF Career Progression and Mentoring:

‘Cheering Women onto Silk’ by Charlotte Davies, February 2024: https://westerncircuit.co.uk/wcwf-charlotte-davies-cheering-women-onto-silk-article-february-2024/

‘Ask a Judge’ and other events by Emma Cross and HHJ Richardson: https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/see-it-to-be-it

‘Ask a Judge’ 20 May 2022 – write-up by Tribunal Judge Lynn Griffin: https://westerncircuit.co.uk/wcwf-ask-a-judge-panel-event-20-may-2022-write-up-by-tribunal-judge-lynn-griffin/

WCWF mentoring scheme: https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/all-women-mentoring; and https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/mentoring-the-western-circuit

Harassment at Work

The WCWF is committed to eradicating harassment at the Bar. Please contact us at wcwf@westerncircuit.co.uk about any issue.

We collaborate with other groups including Behind the Gown and Women in Criminal Law and are always pleased to hear from other groups promoting gender diversity.

Please read the comprehensive guidance given by Bar Council here.  You can also read the notes of Professor Jo Delahunty KC’s lecture on sexual harassment at the Bar here. More recently, the BSB has researched bullying and harassment at the Bar which it considers remains a significant issue. 

Need to talk to someone? Call the Western Circuit Harassment Helpline  approved by the BSB as a pilot harassment support scheme. The Helpline will provide confidential advice and support to all barristers (including pupils) on the Western Circuit who have experienced any harassment or unwanted behaviour by listening to their story and providing information about their options for further action.

You can also anonymously record any incidents of bullying, discrimination, harassment and Covid-19 related concerns with the ‘TalktoSpot‘ App. You can read more here.  The App saw an increase in usage in January 2021, with all reports submitted via the app relating to Covid-19 issues. A total of 34 reports were made between September 2020 and the end of January 2021 on the App, with the highest number, 13, reported in January.

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