Businesswoman Emily Bendell instructs Leigh Day to hunt injunction stopping Garrick Membership from working ‘discriminatory’ coverage
A non-public members’ membership identified to be frequented by high judges and QCs is going through authorized motion over its men-only membership coverage.
Businesswoman Emily Bendell, CEO and founding father of a lingerie firm, has instructed solicitors at Leigh Day to hunt an injunction to cease the Garrick Membership, a gents’s membership within the West Finish of London, from persevering with to function the “discriminatory” coverage.
The Guardian reports a pre-action letter was despatched to the membership by Leigh Day attorneys yesterday, arguing that the membership’s refusal to confess ladies represents a breach of the 2010 Equality Act. They declare that as a result of the membership runs a restaurant and visitor rooms, it’s “discriminatory” to not permit ladies to utilize them on the identical phrases as males.
The letter states: “Solely males are in a position to turn out to be members of the Garrick Membership and make full use of the providers that it supplies. Male members are allowed to convey feminine friends into the membership, however ladies are usually not in a position to pay for themselves after they attend, turn out to be members themselves, e-book the amenities that males can e-book, entry sure elements of the membership in any respect, or entry unique member occasions.”
“In essence, ladies are solely in a position to entry the membership’s providers as second-class residents on the whim of a person who has to each invite and pay for them.”
Sharika Parbin, a solicitor at Leigh Day, stated: “The Garrick is among the oldest and best-known members’ golf equipment on this planet, however it’s holding on to values which can be outdated and fairly merely not authorized these days. It supplies providers to the general public and as such it’s sure by the equalities legislation.”
That is understood to be the primary time a person has launched authorized proceedings towards the membership. It isn’t, nonetheless, the primary time its men-only coverage has come underneath scrutiny.
In Could 2015, the Affiliation of Girls Barristers issued a statement to Authorized Cheek describing the Garrick’s men-only coverage as “uncommon in trendy instances”, notably since ladies are allowed entry as friends.
The practically 200-year previous establishment has been men-only since its institution in 1831. Regulars embody highly effective males from numerous walks of life, however it’s stated to be notably standard with senior attorneys, amongst whom are many members of the judiciary.
AWB’s assertion got here after one of many membership’s lawyer members petitioned a movement on whether or not to incorporate ladies. A majority of 50.5% voted in favour of introducing feminine membership, nonetheless membership guidelines require a two-thirds majority earlier than any change will be launched. It emerged on the time that the movement was opposed by 11 unnamed QC members of the Garrick. A number one Blackstone Chambers barrister urged members of the legal profession to stop the membership shortly after the vote.
In 2011, Girl Hale, the previous president of the Supreme Courtroom, and first-ever feminine Supreme Courtroom choose, lambasted the membership for not permitting ladies to hitch. “I regard it as fairly stunning that so a lot of my colleagues belong to the Garrick, however they don’t see what all of the fuss is about,” she stated.
Senior lawyer membership of the Garrick is seen as notably contentious given the intense variety issues of the judiciary and the upper echelons of the bar and the solicitors’ professions. The latest judicial diversity statistics present that simply 32% of courtroom judges are ladies. In the meantime, ladies accounted for 23% of judges within the Courtroom of Enchantment and 27% within the Excessive Courtroom.
The Garrick Membership has been approached for remark.
For a weekly round-up of reports, plus jobs and newest occasion information