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.
In October 2016, the ABA confirmed its commitment to promoting excellence, diversity and inclusion at the Bar by adopting the Law Council of Australia’s Equitable Briefing Policy. The Policy includes the target of briefing female counsel in at least 30 per cent of all matters and paying 30 per cent of the value of all brief fees by 2020.
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’s Diversity and Inclusion committee provides advice to the ABA Council and Executive on the adoption of equitable briefing practices and the important role they play in the progression of women in the law, the judiciary and the wider community. The committee’s role includes, but is not limited to, monitoring and reviewing the proportional rate of engagement to ensure that female counsel are briefed and to promote practical implementation of equitable briefing initiatives - such as the Law Council’s Gender Equitable Briefing Policy, to ensure full use of the Independent Bar.
Members of the committee:
Australian Bar Association adopts LCA Equitable Briefing Policy and considers practical measures to implementation – October 2016