Launch of Member-wide Diversity, Inclusion & Working Lives Survey

16 June 2023

Survey of 2,150 barristers to assist in future planning & delivering on a diverse and inclusive profession

This week, the Council of The Bar of Ireland launched a membership-wide survey to examine issues of diversity and inclusion at the Bar.

In message to members, Chair of the Council, Sara Phelan SC invited colleagues to engage with the process under way, the results of which will assist in shaping the future direction and work of the Bar in this area.

In a message announcing the survey, she said:

The Bar continues to evolve. Diversity in all its guises is a strength that ought to be fostered and supported, not only for the benefit of members, but also for the benefit of our clients and the practice and development of the law. 

Furthermore, it is vital that we respond to external forces in this area, such as the work of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority in respect of pathways into, and the early years of, the profession. In addition, on foot of engagement and feedback from law firms and universities, the issue of what actions we are taking to support and foster equality, diversity and inclusion at the Bar, invariably arises. 

The Library Committee, in partnership with the Equality and Resilience Committee and approved by the Council developed the survey. It reflects similar work and approaches undertaken by other Bars around the world. New entrants will also be surveyed along similar lines upon joining the Law Library, in order to understand and respond to the changing dynamics and needs of our members over time.

The survey represents one of the actions of the Bar’s Equality Action Plan, launched in June 2022.

The Equality Action Plan sets out a series of recommended actions to build upon existing equality, diversity, and inclusion initiatives at the Bar of Ireland. The five primary objectives under the Plan are:

  1. to enhance public awareness of a positive equality, diversity and inclusion culture at the Bar;
  2. to introduce and embedding diversity awareness training at the Bar;
  3. to enhance access to the profession;
  4. to support fair and equitable practice development and career progression opportunities; and
  5. to enhance the accessibility of member services at the Bar.