The attorney general’s office has dropped demands on bar members of the Treasury Solicitor Panel of Counsel to disclose equality and diversity credentials.
The measures, which were brought in last year under Labour attorney general Baroness Scotland, required all sets with even one barrister on the panel to provide documentation proving they had progressive diversity policies. The so-called ’expectations statement’ also required sets to monitor how they distribute cases.
“It was a difficult exercise because it wasn’t just for panel members but all members of chambers,” one senior clerk said. There was a kerfuffle about it at the beginning. The CPS had been doing it for years, but that’s quite different from the civil panel, where you could have just one person on the panel, but you still had to fill in a questionnaire for all members.”
The U-turn by Conservative attorney general Dominic Grieve has been met with relief at the bar.
The email sent to panel members said responses to the original survey “appear to show a good picture”. It added: “We know we said we would send out another questionnaire to large chambers every year, but on reflection we do not think we need do it again so soon.”