Equality & Diversity
This Practice is committed to eliminating discrimination and promoting equality and diversity in its own policies, practices and procedures.
This applies to all the Practice’s professional dealings with clients, staff, other solicitors, barristers, and third parties. These include:
- Recruitment, training, development and promotion
- Terms and conditions of employment or engagement
The Practice intends to treat everyone equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of their disability, gender, age, marriage or civil partner status, pregnancy and maternity, race, racial group, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, religion or belief or sexual orientation.
We will monitor the physical features of our premises to consider whether they place disabled workers, job applicants or service users at a substantial disadvantage compared to other staff. Where reasonable, we will take steps to improve access for disabled staff and service users.
Regulation and Legislation
In developing and implementing its anti-discrimination policy including direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation or harassment, the practice is committed to complying with the Equality Act 2010, the SRA’s Code of Conduct 2011, the Human Rights Act 1998 and with all current and any future anti-discrimination legislation and associated codes of practice and any relevant amendments to such codes or further codes of practice.
Employment and Training
As an employer, the Practice will treat all employees and job applicants equally and fairly and not discriminate unjustifiably against them. This will, for example, include arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, access to promotion and transfers, grievance and disciplinary processes, demotions, selection for redundancies, dress code, references, bonus schemes, work allocation and any other employment related activities.
Recruitment and selection
This Practice recognises the benefits of having a diverse workforce and will take steps to ensure that it endeavours to recruit from the widest pool of qualified candidates as possible, including groups under-represented in the workforce, and employment opportunities are open and accessible to all on the basis of their individual qualities and personal merit.
The Practice will use its best endeavours to comply with SRA’s policies and targets for the employment of ethnic minorities, as are produced from time to time in accordance with the provisions of the anti-discrimination legislation.
Conditions of service
The Practice will treat all employees equally and create a working environment which is free from discrimination and harassment and which respects, where appropriate, the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of employees.
Promotion and Career development
Promotion within the Practice (including to partners) will be made without reference to any of the forbidden grounds and will be based solely on merit.
The selection criteria and processes for recruitment and promotion will be kept under review to ensure that there is no unjustifiably discriminatory impact on any particular group and the Practice will take appropriate positive action measures (as permitted by the anti-discrimination legislation) to provide special training and support for groups which are under-represented in the workforce and encourage them to take up training and career development opportunities.
Barristers should be instructed on the basis of their skills, experience and ability and Clients’ requests for a named barrister should be complied with, subject to the Practice’s duty to discuss with the client the suitability of the barrister and to advise appropriately.
The Practice will discuss with the client any request by the client that only a barrister who is not disabled or who is of a particular gender; marital status; race; racial group; colour; ethnic or national origin; nationality; religion or belief; or sexual orientation be instructed. In the absence of a valid reason for this request, which must be within the exemptions permitted by the anti-discrimination legislation, the Practice will cease to act.
The Practice is generally free to decide whether to accept instructions from any particular client, but any refusal to act will not be based upon any of the forbidden grounds.
The Practice will take steps to meet the different needs of particular clients arising from its obligations under the anti-discrimination legislation (such as the Equality Act) and the SRA’s Code of Conduct 2011.
Promoting Equality and Diversity
This Practice is committed to promoting equality and diversity in the Practice as well as in those areas in which it has influence and all staff are aware of the anti-discrimination policy and will be provided with equality and diversity training appropriate to their needs and responsibilities. In all its dealings, including those with suppliers, contractors and recruitment agencies, the Practice will seek to promote the principles of equality and diversity. All those who act on the Practice’s behalf including marketing and communication activities will be expected to pay due regard to it when conducting business on the Practice’s behalf.
Implementing the Policy
Ultimate responsibility for implementing the policy rests with the Managing Director of the Practice. The Practice has appointed the Practice Manager to be responsible for the operation of the policy although all employees, partners, and /or members of the Practice are expected to pay due regard to the provisions of its anti-discrimination policy and are responsible for ensuring compliance with it when undertaking their jobs or representing the Practice.
Complaints of discrimination
The Practice will treat seriously, and will take action where appropriate, all complaints of discrimination or harassment on any of the forbidden grounds made by employees, clients, barristers or other third parties. All complaints will be investigated in accordance with the Practice’s grievance or complaints procedure and the complainant will be informed of the outcome.
Monitoring and review
At a practical level, the firm is awake to its obligations and, in any event, does not see them as regrettable necessities but as a reinforcement of the firm’s own positive attitude towards equal opportunities for all.
The policy will be monitored and reviewed annually. The information collected will be used to review the progress and impact of the Equality and Diversity Policy. Any changes required will be made and implemented. The firm does have an Equality & Diversity monitoring form that all employees complete. This information is used to review the progress and impact of the Equality & Diversity Policy and any changes required will be made and implemented.