Diversity

St John’s Chambers is committed to celebrating and advancing Equality, Diversity and Wellbeing at the Bar

Inclusivity and fairness are of paramount importance to us. We truly believe that the Bar should be populated by those with the requisite gifts, regardless of their background or the challenges which life may have placed in their path.

We provide a working culture in which all our barristers and staff are treated with dignity and respect. We benefit from an environment where our colleagues feel comfortable to be themselves and do their best work. As a result we have twice been nominated in the Legal Cheek Awards: in 2020 for ‘Best Chambers for Colleague Supportiveness’, and in 2021 for ‘Best Chambers for Work-Life Balance’.

St John’s Chambers understands diversity at the Bar is an issue which requires the work and attention of far more than just one Chambers, however we are determined to do everything in our power to lead from the front on this very important matter. It is an issue which should be close to the heart of everyone interested in justice and fairness.

As part of our continued commitment to promoting diversity we have instigated the following:

  • Mini-Pupillage: As part of the Western Circuit’s ‘BarNone’ initiative we have pledged to offer 50% of mini-pupillages to applicants from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Mentoring: We are also signatories to the ‘BarNone’ mentoring scheme, providing guidance and support to aspiring barristers from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Internships: We are proud to be part of the Bar’s inaugural programme with 10,000 Black Interns which starts in Summer 2022, along with organisations such as Matrix Chambers, Keating, Littleton, and Bridging the Bar. Through this scheme we will be offering paid work experience in Chambers.
  • Secondary School outreach: We are part of the Bar Council’s outreach program, as well as offering work experience placements to Year 10 students in the Bristol / South Gloucestershire / BANES catchment area.
  • Pupillage applications: Before written applications for pupillage are assessed we redact data indicative of sex and ethnic background in order to limit the scope for unconscious bias. We are also proud to be one of the few chambers to redact the identity of the university and school our applicants attended. All applicants are marked according to measurable and transparent criteria based on key competencies. For more information take a look at our pupillage policy here.
  • Bar E-Mentoring Scheme: Visit this page.
  • Webinars: We have put in place a program of webinars promoting equal opportunities for underrepresented groups.
  • New Pupils: We have a ‘buddy’ system for our pupils so that they have someone other than their supervisor to speak to about welfare issues.
  • Barrister and staff recruitment: All of those involved in the recruitment at St John’s Chambers are offered regular Fair Recruitment and Selection training.
  • Work allocation: All of our clerks are offered fair distribution of work training.
  • Flexible working and parental Leave: We have a generous parental leave policy in place to support our members who become parents whether through pregnancy, surrogacy, or adoption.  In addition, we also have a policy in place to support our members to work flexibly where they need or choose to do so.
  • Wellbeing: St John’s Chambers was one of the first Sets to be awarded the Bar Council Wellbeing at the Bar Certification. St John’s is also a member of Bristol City Council Wellbeing Charter.

Data Diversity Information

Under the terms of the Bar Standards Board’s Equality and Diversity Provisions of the Code of Conduct, each set of barristers’ Chambers is required to collect diversity data from barristers and Chambers’ staff.  This data is updated annually and will be published in July 2021.

If you have any comments or suggestions relating to how we could improve our offering on this front, please do not hesitate to contact the Data Diversity Officer Isabelle Mills with your suggestions.

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