After the furore

BARBARA Hewson's first few days as chair of the Association of Women Barristers couldn't have been more tempestuous.

She is angry at the way her claim that “a number” of CLE students were promised pupillages in return for sexual favours was seized upon by the national media.

But she will inevitably be accused of naivete by some for failing to appreciate the explosive nature of her claims. Nobody seriously believes senior barristers make a habit of offering pupillages in exchange for sex. But who would have thought the Law Society would continue to back John Young as its president-in-waiting after reports of sexual harassment it viewed as “disturbing”?

A survey published earlier this year in which 40 per cent of women barristers complained of sexual harassment is proof of the extent of a problem which Ms Hewson must continue to highlight.