Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

At New Square Chambers we are committed to promoting and advancing equality, diversity and inclusion. This spans all areas of our work, including the provision of services to clients, the recruitment and retention of members of Chambers, staff, clerks, pupils and mini-pupils, patterns of working, and the allocation of work.

Across Chambers we work hard to create and promote a culture that actively values diversity and inclusion, and recognises that people from different backgrounds and experiences offer valuable insight and improve Chambers as a whole.

Our compliance & principles

We consider compliance with all relevant equality legislation a cornerstone of our work in this area. This includes maintaining Chambers’ strict compliance to the Equality Act 2010, Codes of Practice, and relevant best practice guidance. No member of Chambers or staff, pupil, mini-pupil or client will be discriminated against on the basis of his or her race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, religion, political persuasion or age.

Our zero tolerance approach

We have a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination, harassment, victimisation, and all other forms of unfair and/or unequal treatment.

We are committed to tackling any such discrimination or unfair treatment, proactively, to ensure that no individual or group is directly or indirectly discriminated against for any reason relating to employment or accessing services. We also recognise that positive action may be lawful and appropriate in certain cases.

Our policies

We want to ensure that New Square Chambers is a working environment that promotes a fair, commercially advantageous and constitutional equality of opportunity.

To underpin this we have adopted a number of policies, including a Fair Access to Work Policy, Recruitment Policies for tenants and staff, and a Pupillage Policy, and an Equality Action Plan.


Equality & Diversity policy

Harassment & Bullying policy

Diversity Data policy

Making reasonable adjustments

Whether working within Chambers, attending interviews or receiving legal services from members of New Square Chambers, we will always endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to remove or reduce substantial disadvantage for disabled people.

Examples of reasonable adjustments we have made include: providing information in alternative formats; providing auxiliary aids; and offering accessible conference room facilities. We are also able to support the visually impaired in increasing the size at which text is displayed both digitally and in print format.

Please communicate any requests for reasonable adjustments to Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officers, Alexander Learmonth and/or Raj Sahonte, or to the barrister whom you are instructing.

Reasonable Adjustments policy

Our approach to recruitment & retention

Across New Square Chambers we’re committed to the recruitment and retention of barristers and staff from diverse backgrounds.

Our work in this area includes: our social mobility programme; fair pupillage selection processes (as well as support prior to application); mentoring for members’ career progression; and fair recruitment of members of chambers, supported by our members’ recruitment and equality, diversity and inclusion committees.

A cross-section of members of Chambers and staff are involved in our broad programme of EDI activities, playing an active role in this, supporting the Chambers-wide encouragement, recruitment and retention of barristers and staff from diverse backgrounds.

These activities include:

  • Social mobility
    • Social mobility mini-pupillage – Since starting the programme in 2020, we have welcomed 26 prospective pupillage candidates from socially diverse backgrounds to undertake assessed work experience. Candidates who perform well are guaranteed a first-round pupillage interview. You can find out more about this here.
    • The Stephen Lawrence Day Essay Competition – Since 2021, we have run an annual essay competition in honour of Stephen Lawrence Day. This is open to 16-18 year olds at non-fee-paying schools. The top three entries receive prizes including work experience, mentoring and a legal book voucher.
  • Pupillage
    • Pupillage recruitment seminar programme – Every year, prior to the opening of Pupillage Gateway, we offer at least one seminar targeted to prospective pupillage applicants. During this we attempt to dispel myths about the Bar, as well as offering advice on the pupillage application process. Attendance is actively encouraged from socially mobile, female, BAME and disabled prospective applicants.
    • Blind review of pupillage and mini-pupillage applications – In order to eliminate confirmation bias, and similar, we review all applications for pupillage and mini-pupillage on an anonymous basis. We also review pupillage applications blind as to the institutions attended by candidates.
  • Membership recruitment and career progression

Members’ recruitment committee – A formal recruitment committee has been established to ensure that approaches to, and recruitment of, tenants considers and proactively addresses a number of EDI matters. In particular, these include the gender imbalance in Chambers’ membership.

Silk, Judicial Appointments & AG Panel Mentoring Programme – We run a mentoring programme for members of Chambers intending to apply for silk, appointments to the AG’s Panel or the bench. Financial support is also offered.

  • Policies and reporting

Parental and Long-Term Leave Policy – Our revitalised policy allows for the provision of a generous financial and other support to anyone who requires leave as a result of parental responsibilities or long-term ill health. The clerks are also required to encourage instructing solicitors to return cases to those coming back to work from a period of leave.

Gender and race pay gap review – Each year, the Equality and Diversity Officers, together with the Senior Clerk, conduct an internal gender and race pay gap review for both members of Chambers and staff. The review is conducted on an anonymous basis, with findings fed back to the EDI Committee and the clerks’ room.

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