Brick Court Chambers is a committed advocate of equality and diversity at the Bar. It is our unequivocal policy to treat everyone equally and fairly regardless of their age, disability, gender reassignment, identity or expression, marital or civil partnership status, political persuasion, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or gender, sexual orientation or social background.
Some of our initiatives and the projects we are proud to support are set out below.
In addition to these, Brick Court Chambers is one of six commercial sets that have jointly created a mentoring scheme to support and encourage individuals from all underrepresented groups to pursue a career as a barrister. Further details of the scheme are here.
If you would like to learn more about any of our work on equality and diversity, please contact our Equality and Diversity Officer, Sarah Lee QC.
We are dedicated to achieving equality of opportunity. In accordance with our commitment to treat everyone equally and fairly, we assess candidates for pupillage and tenancy on merit alone. However, we recognise that women, members of ethnic monitories, LGBT+ and those with disabilities are disproportionately under-represented in our areas of practice, including within chambers. We particularly encourage applications from these groups. For our full Equality and Diversity Policy please click here, and for our Equality Procedures click here.
We are committed to offering opportunities for gaining experience and practice development to all pupils and members of chambers equally without discrimination. For our Equal Access to Work & Opportunities Policy please click here.
We are determined to provide a work environment in which all can flourish and in which individuals, clients and the public are treated with dignity and respect. For our Dignity at Work Policy please click here.
Brick Court Chambers takes these commitments very seriously. Equality and diversity training sessions conducted by external advisors are held for all members of chambers and employees involved in pupil selection and assessment, and all employees involved in allocation of work. In addition, specific training in fair selection and recruitment methods has been held for all members of chambers involved in selecting candidates for interview or interviewing for pupillage or tenancy.
We are proud to offer a generous parental leave and flexible working policy – please click here. We are also keen to work with clients on initiatives for those planning for and returning from parental leave, and we encourage dialogue in that respect.
We consider it important that family and professional life be compatible. Many members of chambers combine the two with great success. We are particularly proud that all of the female members with children have remained in practice at Brick Court Chambers. We believe that this reflects not only the parental leave policy but also a generally supportive and family-friendly attitude in chambers.
We are committed to promoting the advancement of women in the workplace and at the Bar. Brick Court is the only ‘Magic Circle’ set with a female co-head of chambers and it has a strong proportion of female members of chambers at all levels of seniority.
Brick Court has been instrumental in spearheading an initiative to recruit more women to the Commercial Bar, working in collaboration with the other ‘Magic Circle’ commercial sets (Essex Court Chambers, Fountain Court Chambers and One Essex Court). Its efforts towards advancement of women at the Bar have been recognised in The Times. The initiative has already seen two successful events in Oxford and Cambridge universities with remarkable turnouts at each. Laura Newton spoke on the panel in Oxford, chaired by Mrs Justice Cockerill DBE; and Brick Court’s Head of Chambers, Helen Davies QC, chaired the panel of speakers in Cambridge. Further events at other academic institutions will take place in the future.
In January 2020 Brick Court hosted a reception in London to celebrate the centenary of women being able to enter the legal profession for the first time. Hilary Heilbron QC’s biography of her mother, Rose QC, had just been reissued in paperback; and the event served also to celebrate this milestone. Hilary spoke about her mother, Rose Heilbron, who was a truly inspirational icon of gender equality at the Bar. The text of Hilary’s lecture is here and The Times also reported the event.
Members of chambers frequently speak on the issue of gender equality at the Bar, including at the Temple Women’s Forum, the International Women’s Conference and Cambridge Women in Business. A number of members of chambers, including Kelyn Bacon QC, Laura Newton and Emily MacKenzie, act as mentors for women at the Bar through various programmes as well as informally.
We welcome LGBT+ applicants to chambers and are proud to have several LGBT+ members of chambers and staff. Brick Court is an active supporter and sponsor of Freebar, which promotes LGBT+ equality and inclusion across the Bar.
Several members of chambers work on cases involving LGBT+ rights, both domestically and abroad (including with the Human Dignity Trust).
We are committed to ensuring equality and inclusion at the Bar regardless of race or ethnicity. Brick Court is proud to have members from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds at all levels of chambers.
It is important to us that barristers and staff with disabilities are able to succeed at Brick Court and that disabled clients are able to access our services. We have a member of chambers who is a wheelchair user, and one of our current pupils is visually impaired.
The chambers building is accessible to people using wheelchairs (save for the roof terrace, which currently has a step). We have a step-free accessible entrance from the street and an internal lift to all floors, as well as a wheelchair-accessible toilet.
We also have a hearing loop available.
We would be glad to consider any requests for reasonable adjustments to assist disabled applicants or clients. We continuously explore improvements to chambers’ accessibility through disability awareness training and physical accessibility measures. We are also able to assist pupils with applications for funding such as through the Access to Work scheme. If you wish to learn more, please contact our Equality and Diversity Officer, Sarah Lee QC. For our Reasonable Adjustments Policy please click here.
Brick Court believes in the importance and value of assisting students to access the Bar regardless of background.
Chambers regularly offers work experience to students participating in the Bar Council's Social Mobility Placement Scheme and the Access Aspiration Scheme, both of which seek to encourage diversity and social mobility in the profession. Brick Court Chambers also hosts an annual Student Open Day to enable students to learn more about life at the Bar. Helen Davies, QC, joint head of chambers, is the Vice Chair of the Inner Temple Outreach Sub-Committee that is responsible for the Inner Temple Pegasus Access and Support Scheme (PASS). Other members of chambers and staff are involved in the Social Mobility Business Partnership, the Inner Temple Schools Project and the Sutton Trust Pathways to Law programme. Each of these initiatives seeks to give high-achieving state school students information about and experience of the Bar. In addition, members of chambers individually mentor and sponsor aspiring barristers who do not have the necessary contacts or funding.
In accordance with the requirements of the Bar Standards Board (“BSB”), Brick Court Chambers conducts surveys in order to collect and publish equality and diversity data in respect of its workforce (both barristers and non-barristers). These surveys assist chambers in monitoring the success of their equality and diversity policies. Chambers are also required to publish summaries of the data collected, to help provide transparency in recruitment and encourage diversity in the profession. A summary of the data is available here.