Bar Council steps up efforts to stamp out sexual harassment in wake of ‘unacceptable behaviour’ suffered by some barristers

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Guide issued to ensure chambers properly handle allegations of harassment


The Bar Council has issued new guidance to clampdown on what it describes as “residual” sexual harassment, following a report released last summer revealing “unacceptable behaviour” on the part of some of its male members.

The report hit the headlines in 2015, with one anonymous second-six pupil recalling the time her supervisor told her she looked “quite fuckable”, and another barrister describing the moment she “got a hand” down the back of her trousers.

As well as practical guidance, the 10-page document also includes tips and case study scenarios. In one scenario, readers are asked to consider a situation where a male barrister attempts to “aggressively” kiss a female member of staff at a chambers’ party and, in another, a pupil reveals her supervisor is sexually harassing her.

The new guidance also offers advice on encouraging self-reporting of sexual harassment to the bar’s regulator, the Bar Standards Board.

Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, chairman of the bar, said:

We have a clear road map on what Bar Council, as the profession’s representative body, can do to better support barristers and it is time to take action. This guide is another step in a series of support tools that the Bar Council is leading on.

Read the guidance in full below:

Dealing With Sexual Harassment in Chambers December 2015