- The ABA, and the independent bars of Australia, are committed to promoting diversity, equality, respect and inclusion consistent with the principles of justice, integrity, equality and the pursuit of excellence.
- The ABA supports equality of opportunity in the workforce, and reducing hurdles facing its members based on gender, race, sexuality or social background.
- The ABA and the independent bars have a strong history of leadership in this area and regularly participate in initiatives to support and promote equality and diversity at a national and international level.
Current work on gender equity includes:
Equitable Briefing Policies
The ABA is undertaking a review of the current national equitable briefing policy Model Equal Opportunity Briefing Policy for Female Barristers and Advocates successfully adopted more than a decade ago by the Commonwealth government and entrenched in the Legal Services Directions Appendix E. The policy has been adopted by the Victorian Government into legal services panel arrangements and by a number of other firms and organisations.
The NSW Bar adopted a revised policy in October 2015: http://www.nswbar.asn.au/docs/webdocs/eb_report_01092015.pdf
Law firms and large corporate clients have indicated a clear preference for a national policy. The new national policy will be posted here as soon as it is available
National Protocols to address Bullying and Harassment
State and Commonwealth laws and the Legal Profession Uniform Conduct Rules protect individuals from certain behaviour including discrimination, workplace bullying and sexual harassment.
The ABA is currently assisting in the development of national guidelines on bullying and harassment.
In 2013 the Victorian Bar launched The Quantum Leap https://www.vicbar.com.au/about-us/gender-equality-at-the-bar a package of measures designed to support the retention of women at the Bar and address the reasons they leave the Bar. The new package of measures, The Quantum Leap, was launched by the Honourable Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC of the Supreme Court of Victoria on 12 November.
In 2014 and 2015 the NSW Bar has developed a number of programs and initiatives http://www.nswbar.asn.au/for-members/equal-opportunity
The ABA will post links of other initiatives here from time to time.