The body representing chartered legal executives has called on the profession to end discrimination against lawyers who have qualified through non-university routes and open up the senior judiciary to those entered the law by alternative means.
Almost half of female barristers have experienced discrimination at work and 40% have experienced harassment, a major report by the Bar Standards Board has found. Dr Vanessa Davies, director general of the BSB, described the findings as “very disappointing”.
The number of lawyers demanding an independent review of their treatment at the hands of the Solicitors Regulation Authority has gone up, despite a decline in members of the public making a similar request.
A barrister who claims she is the victim of racial discrimination by the Bar Standards Board has said she will appeal against last week’s High Court ruling that she has an arguable case but that it was brought out of time.
Users of the civil legal aid telephone gateway who sought face-to-face advice “often did so out of preference as opposed to need”, a review has suggested.
The Bar Standards Board has become the latest regulator facing questions over race discrimination in its disciplinary system after an internal report appeared to show the existence of racial bias.
The High Court has thrown out a solicitor’s challenge to the decision to suspend him, which he argued was tainted by racial discrimination. Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said that “no scintilla of discrimination of any kind is detectible”.
Around a sixth of practising solicitors – and a quarter of those working in-house – say they have been bullied in the workplace, according to a survey on wellbeing in the profession. Almost one in five of solicitors suffer from severe stress or worse, the figures also suggest.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has brought in an equality and race relations expert to look at whether there is any racial bias in the decisions it makes after research showed that BME solicitors continue to be disproportionately represented in its regulatory decisions.
Niche City litigation firm Bivonas has failed to overturn a ruling that it discriminated against an employed barrister on the basis of his sexual orientation. However, the College of Law and SRA have defeated a disability discrimination claim brought by an LPC student.