Adopt or adapt code Bar warns chambers

A MODEL code for chambers is to be sent out to sets up and down the country to encourage them to adopt the Bar Council's new Equality Code.

Chambers will be encouraged to adopt or adapt the model code to bring them in line with the new Equality Code, which was agreed at the recent Bar Council meeting.

The extensive 65-page document, which has been welcomed by the Association of Women Barristers, covers discrimination, harassment, fair selection of pupils and tenants, equality of opportunity in chambers, monitoring and complaints.

It is to be included into the Bar Council's code of conduct which means chambers that do not adopt it will be more vulnerable to successful complaints of discrimination against them.

A Bar spokesman stressed the document extended beyond statutory anti-discrimination measures on race and sex to cover discrimination on grounds of disability, sexual orientation, religion and political belief.

Chair Peter Goldsmith QC said the Bar was determined to eradicate discrimination “not only because it demeans individuals, but also because it robs the profession of talent by allowing irrelevant considerations to mask indicators of ability and potential”.

Christine Kings, practice manager at Geoffrey Robertson QC's Doughty Street Chambers, which has its own equal opportunities code, said sets should welcome the new code.

“A lot of the work has already been done for them, all they have to do is adopt it.”