On the 31st January, the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales (BSB) published its annual report on diversity at the Bar. The report demonstrates that there has been some progress, with increased diversity and representation across the profession. However, the report also demonstrated that whilst the direction of travel was positive, there is still significant change required before the Bar becomes fully socially diverse.
Key findings from the report include:
- The number of women practising has risen by 0.6% over the past year (38% of the total practising)
- 13.6% of practitioners are from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, up 0.6% from last year
- There are more female pupil barristers (54.8%) than male pupil barristers (45.2%) a trend that has continued over the past four years
- Only 6% of those surveyed disclosed a disability, significantly lower than the 13.4% of the employed working-age population in the UK who have a disability
BSB Head of Equality and Access to Justice, Amit Popat said: “While the data follow a similar trend to those seen in recent years insofar as they show a slow and steady improvement in gender and ethnic diversity at the Bar, there is more to be done before the profession can be said fully to reflect the society it serves. One of the BSB’s key strategic aims is to encourage a more diverse legal profession, and these annual diversity reports provide a strong evidence base so that action can be taken. So, we urge all barristers to complete the diversity data questions when renewing their practising certificates for the year ahead.”
The full report and findings are available here.