The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published two new research reports, the first looking at Bar training providers’ approaches to equality and diversity and the second examining students’ experiences of these approaches. The reports form part of the Board’s commitment to ensuring that access to training for the Bar is open to all on an equal basis. Previous research has identified concerns that ethnicity and socio-economic status have a significant impact on students’ performance on the course and their ability to obtain pupillage.
The first research report examined the equality and diversity sections of seven vocational training providers’ websites, as well as nine vocational training providers’ applications to the BSB for authorisation to deliver the Bar training courses against the nine accessibility indicators set out in the BSB’s Authorisation Framework.
The second piece of research, on students’ experiences on the Bar training courses, was undertaken by YouGov to gain a better understanding of students’ awareness of their providers’ equality and diversity policies and initiatives, experiences or involvement with the equality and diversity issues on the course, as well as to assess the extent to which they are familiar with the BSB’s work promoting equality and diversity in training for the Bar. The research involved in-depth one-on-one interviews with 40 students undertaking the Bar training courses in the 2020/21 academic year, which were conducted virtually from July to September 2021. The research sample included a mix of students from different educational, demographic and socio-economic backgrounds undertaking Bar training courses at eight providers inside and outside of London.