New bar research finds rookies ‘significantly weak’ to bullying and harassment

Pupil barristers are “significantly weak” to bullying, harassment and discrimination, new analysis has discovered, with one bar rookie recalling how they had been shouted at by their then-supervisor for leaving the pub early.

The incident is only one of quite a lot of stunning examples of inappropriate behaviour documented in a new study released this week by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

The unnamed barrister instructed researchers: “Once I was a pupil I used to be actually bullied in chambers by my supervisor — each piece of labor I did wasn’t adequate. I’d be shouted at as a result of I left the pub at 10 o’clock somewhat than 11pm.”

The research, carried out by YouGov on behalf of the regulator, noticed 35 phone interviews carried out with 30 barristers, and 5 non-barristers, who had straight skilled or noticed discrimination and harassment on the bar.

“I used to be conscious of a pupil barrister who was sexually harassed by a senior member of chambers,” one other respondent recalled. “This occurred at the least as soon as per week.” One other barrister spoke of the time “two drunk males made very offensive remarks” about her chest. “I used to be deeply upset about it however wasn’t going to say something about it,” she recounted.

The research discovered the bar’s distinctive construction — most barristers are self employed and reliant on clerks for work, with little in the way in which of a proper administration group — allowed harassment and discrimination to “slip via the web”. Pupil barristers who’re early on of their careers and reliant on chambers for his or her development, had been seen as “significantly weak”.

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Researchers discovered the overwhelming majority of respondents interviewed had not formally reported their experiences, amid fears it will negatively influence their popularity, incomes potential and profession development.

The report concludes that for anti-harassment insurance policies and procedures to be efficient, “there must be a shift in tradition on the bar to encourage openness and to discourage inappropriate behaviour, with a task for the BSB, the Bar Council and different stakeholders in driving change and providing help”.

Amanda Pinto QC, chair of the bar, stated:

“This report is a useful reminder that everybody on the bar must maintain shining a lightweight on bullying, discrimination and harassment. The BSB’s findings replicate our personal expertise of labor on this behaviour which has long-term destructive penalties for people and the occupation as an entire.”

Related analysis, published by the Bar Council in 2018, discovered that bullying on the bar was up by was up 5%, with 21% of employed and 12% of self-employed barristers reporting that that they had personally skilled mistreatment at work.