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A proposal to introduce creches into that bastion of tradition the Inns of Court will be debated this week as a report reveals whether the Inns are winning the fight against discrimination.
The report by Lord Justice Thorpe into race and sex discrimination within the Inns - the first of its kind for the Inns - will be discussed at the Council of Inns of Court. Details of the report are not yet available, but a Bar Council spokesman said one issue the council will debate is whether creches should be introduced into the Inns. However, the matter is not referred to in Judge Thorpe's report as it was raised by a male and a female barrister subsequent to the report's publication. It is not expected that such ideas will go down well among the Inns. Ethnic minorities are widely considered to be under-represented at the bar, particularly at the most senior level. Hodge Malek QC of 4-5 Gray's Inn Square said: "I am one of the few ethnic minority silks. On the one hand ethnic minorities are encouraged by the government, the Bar Council and the Inns of Court to get silk and judicial office. They are, however, very much under-represented in these groups." A Bar Council spokesman said the focus of Judge Thorpe's report will be on whether the Inns are doing enough to encourage ethnic groups and women to join the bar.