QC attacks Inns over record on gay equality

THE BAR Council's out-going treasurer Martin Bowley QC blasted the Inns of Court as “self-perpetuating geriatric oligarchies” in a speech to the Bar Lesbian and Gay Group (Blagg).

Bowley also called for a radical revamp of the archaic sex laws which he says should enshrine the concept of equality.

The QC, of 1 King's Bench Walk, called on the Government to bring in a new Sexual Offences Act to wipe consensual buggery and gross indecency from the statute book.

He also said he wanted to see new civil laws adopted which recognised co-habitation for same-sex couples.

Bowley, Blagg's first president, said the group had made great strides in spreading the equal opportunities message.

But three of the Inns of Court – Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn and Middle Temple – had resisted the group's suggestion that sexual orientation should be written into their equal opportunities policies. “If the Bar Council, the Law Society, the Council of Legal Education – and even the Inner Temple – can adopt wide-ranging policies which go well beyond statutory areas why are Linco-ln's, Gray's and Middle Temple still dragging their feet?”

He criticised the Lord Chancellor for taking an apparently “apologetic” stance when finally agreeing to include sexual orientation within a statement on equal opportunities for judicial appointments.