Bar equality code gets its first official airing

The new Bar equality code was due to be officially launched at a conference for women law-yers held over the weekend.

The code, which is endorsed by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, will be included in the Bar's Code of Conduct and will provide a standard against which allegations of discrimination can be judged.

It covers discrimination on grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion and political belief and was expected to form a centrepiece of Saturday's 'Woman Lawyer II' conference, held in London.

But Barbara Hewson, chair of the Association of Women Barristers, said some younger barristers were sceptical that the code would make a difference. “Although the code expresses the right sentiments the heads of chambers must take notice of it and implement it.”

Bar Council chair David Penry-Davey QC said: “The Bar Council is determined to eradicate discrimination from the Bar, not only because it demeans individuals but because it robs the profession of talent by allowing irrelevant considerations to mask indicators of ability and potential.”