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‘Don’t act like you’re on a stag-do’ or ‘make repetitive jokes about breasts or skirts’, junior barrister tells male colleagues

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Joanna Hardy offers nine practical pointers to improving retention of women at the criminal bar

Joanna Hardy

A junior barrister has advised her male colleagues not to “act like you’re on a stag-do” or “make repetitive jokes about breasts or skirts” as part of a nine-point action plan to help improve the retention of women at the criminal bar.

Taking to Twitter, Joanna Hardy, a criminal barrister at London’s Red Lion Chambers, posted her nine practical steps to improving the working lives of female barristers. She wrote:

“We talk a lot about retention of women at the criminal bar. We wring our hands and shake our heads as females leave and leave and leave. But what can we actually do?”

Kicking things off, Hardy, who was called to the bar in 2010, suggested abolishing 9:30am court listings.

The same goes for warned lists.

Noting that some “female advocates can have a rough time of it”, her next piece of advice was simply “be kind to each other”.

The KCL law grad also called on chambers to look carefully at their policies for supporting female tenants.

Next up, “help each other”.

Continuing, Hardy urged her male counterparts to not “behave like you’re on a stag-do” nor “make repetitive jokes about breasts or skirts”.

The junior barrister’s list, which has since gone viral, continues:

Hardy’s nine practical pointers come just 24 hours after the head of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA), Chris Henley QC, stressed that more needed to be done to help tackle the “increasingly hostile environment” facing women at the bar.

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