1. The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple (“Inner Temple” and “the Inn”) is an Inn of Court. It is an unincorporated association with over 8,000 qualified members, including Judges, Barristers (both practising and non-practising), Pupils and Students. The Inn plays a central role in the recruitment and training of student barristers, as well as in the training and continued professional development of established barristers; it (together with the other Inns of Court) holds the exclusive right to call candidates to practise law at the Bar of England and Wales; and it is the employer of approximately 75 staff.
2. Inner Temple is committed to a policy of fairness and equality of opportunity. The Inn’s aim is to promote diversity, inclusivity and equality of opportunity for all individuals, regardless of sex, marital status, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief, age and social background, in relation to the performance of all its functions and roles. Diversity involves recognising and respecting individual differences and treating people according to their individual needs. It includes visible and non-visible differences. Equality of opportunity involves the creation of an organisation where employment and membership decisions are made by reference to sound, objective criteria and are based on merit, personal skill and ability, and potential contribution.
3. In each of its roles, the Inn is covered by anti-discrimination legislation which protects employees, members and service users against discrimination on the grounds of possessing a protected characteristic. Section 4 of the Equality Act 2010 provides that the following are protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, and sexual orientation. References to 'the prohibited grounds’ in this Policy are to protected characteristics as defined in Part 2, Equality Act 2010.
4. This Policy applies to all members and staff in all parts of Inner Temple and at all levels of the organisation. It applies to all Inn functions, including recruitment and selection, training, commercial functions, pay and conditions of employment for staff, discipline and termination of employment or membership. It also applies to those who apply for employment or appointment.
5. In adopting this Policy, the Inn does not intend to confer or limit any legal rights or expectations, whether contractual or otherwise. This Policy may be withdrawn or amended at any time.
6. Every member and employee of Inner Temple is responsible for upholding the Inn’s commitment to this Policy. Ultimate responsibility for the operation of this Policy rests with the Sub-Treasurer and the Executive Committee of the Governing Benchers.
7. All members and employees involved in the employment and management of staff are responsible for ensuring that this Policy is consistently and fairly applied within their respective areas of responsibility.
8. All members and employees of the Inn are required to observe and apply this Policy when carrying out functions and activities on behalf of the Inn, including:
- Decision-making by Committees.
- Recruitment of students.
- Provision of scholarships and awards.
- Allocation of student mentors.
- Education and training.
- Call to the Bar.
- Dealing with complaints and discipline.
- Appointment to membership of committees.
- Election to the Bench.
- Allocation of professional and residential accommodation.
- Arrangements for dining.
- Provisions of facilities such as the use of the Library, Garden, Car Park and Rooms for functions.
9. Harassment is unwanted and unsolicited conduct falling within any of the prohibited grounds which is personally offensive to the recipient and therefore fails to respect the rights and dignity of others. The effect of the unwanted behaviour on the person who claims to have been harassed will be an important factor to be taken into account, whether or not the behaviour was intended to be harmful. Harassment may consist of a single act or a series of acts.
Implementing the Policy
10. Inner Temple will provide committee members and employees with the knowledge, skills and confidence that they need to implement and promote equality and diversity in their work. The Inn will endeavour to ensure that the principles of equality and diversity are embedded, as appropriate, into training and development. The effectiveness of training and development programmes on equality and diversity will be reviewed to ensure that they meet the needs of members and employees.
11. The Inn will assess the impact of its strategies, policies, procedures and functions, to ensure that they do not have an unjustifiable adverse impact on equality and diversity.
12. In order to review the effectiveness of this Policy and to progress the promotion of diversity, the Inn monitors its staff and members in areas such as age, disability, ethnicity, gender, and religion or belief and sexual orientation, to ensure that there is no unlawful discrimination. The data in that regard is held according to data protection legislation.
13. The Inn will monitor the effectiveness of this Policy by collecting monitoring data to measure its progress and judge its effectiveness on a regular basis. In particular, the Inn will, as appropriate, monitor:
- the age, ethnicity, disability, gender, religion or belief and sexual orientation composition of its membership and workforce at different levels;
- for each major selection exercise it undertakes, the age, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation of all applicants, short-listed applicants and successful applicants;
- the age, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation of all applicants for promotion.
- the number and outcome of complaints of discrimination made by staff, members, and third parties;
- disciplinary action (if any) taken against employees or members, by the age, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation.
14. The Inn will take reasonable steps to collect monitoring data in respect of staff, selection exercises and in respect of Benchers. Statistical summaries of monitoring data (which do not identify individuals) will (so far as reasonably practicable) be compiled, in order to review equality objectives as identified above, and considered by the Executive Committee and/or the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Sub-Committee on a reasonably regular basis.
15. Where under-representation is identified in the monitoring data the Inn will consider steps to address such under-representation.
Members Acting on Behalf of the Inn
Taking action against Discrimination
16. Inner Temple will support an individual who is subjected to unacceptable or unlawful discrimination arising out of or in connection with the activities of the Inner Temple. If an individual is unable to resolve informally a problem concerning discrimination or harassment, a formal grievance can be raised with the Sub-Treasurer.
17. If, when acting on the Inn’s behalf, a member encounters what that member reasonably believes to be an act of discrimination on prohibited grounds, committed by any other member or employee, it is the duty of the member holding that belief to report it to the Treasurer, Chair of Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Sub-Committee, or the Director of the Treasury Office as soon as reasonably practicable.
18. If a member suffers intimidation, victimisation or discrimination for making a complaint of discrimination, filing a grievance or assisting another to do so, or in an investigation, disciplinary action may be taken against the alleged perpetrator.
19. The Inn’s Education and Training Department is available to assist students, and the Bar Council’s Equality & Diversity Advisers have a confidential help-line on 020 7611 1426.
20. Failure to comply with and/or breach of this Policy may, in an appropriate case, be regarded as inappropriate behaviour or serious misconduct within the meaning of Bench Table Order 38 and 40 and could result in disciplinary action being taken in accordance with Bench Table Orders 40 and 41.
21. Members who make bona fide complaints that are not upheld will be protected so far as is reasonably practicable from victimisation of any kind.
Education & Training and Outreach
22. In addition to the general principles stated above:
- The Inn will take active steps to reach out to a broad range of schools and higher education institutions, to try to ensure that its student intake is drawn from as wide a pool as is reasonably practicable.
- There will be no discrimination in the provision of education and training facilities and services by the Inn.
- The Inn will provide training for those who become Pupil Supervisors, including training in relation to this Policy.
- The Inn will have regard to the diverse needs of its student and member population in the arrangements (for example, as to place and timing) that it makes for education and training and will seek to avoid or minimise any adverse impact of such arrangements on any particular group.
- The Inn will seek, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure that its facilities and services are accessible to all users. In particular, reasonable adjustments will be made in that regard to enable access by disabled users to the Library, Rooms for training and other functions, the Garden and the Car Park.
23. In addition to the general principles stated above:
- The Inn will encourage suitable members from as broad a range of practice and Chambers as is reasonably practicable to become student mentors. Student mentors and advocacy trainers will receive guidance and/or training in relation to this Policy.
24. In addition to the general principles stated above:
- The Inn will take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that the assessment of candidates by reference to published criteria for scholarships and awards is fair, objective and free from discrimination on any of the prohibited grounds identified in this Policy. The Inn will make reasonable adjustments in that regard for any candidate requiring such an adjustment by reason of a disability.
- The Inn will use a standard application form, in preference to curriculum vitae, for scholarships and awards, to ensure that all relevant information is presented to selectors in a standard form and to assist in making fair comparisons between candidates.
The Inn will ensure, wherever reasonably practicable, that more than one person will be involved in any short-listing process adopted for interviews and in interviewing candidates for scholarships and awards.
- The Inn will identify and publish the criteria that it uses for selection for scholarships and awards.
- The Inn will ensure that the criteria adopted are reasonable and appropriate in relation to the award of scholarships and awards, having regard to the Inn’s objectives in making those scholarships and awards, and that the assessment of candidates is made against its published criteria at each stage of the process.
- Those involved in selection for scholarships and awards will, so far as is reasonably practicable, receive guidance and/or training on best practice in selection and interviewing and in relation to this Policy.
- Interviews will be structured so that (so far as is reasonably practicable) the same broad areas are covered in questions to all candidates.
- Written records will be made of the decision taken at the short-listing and interviewing stages in respect of each candidate. Those records will be retained for at least 12 months.
- Candidates will be asked to complete monitoring forms, to enable the Inn to review the selection process by reference to reliable statistics. Those forms will be detached from the application form and will play no part in the selection process.
- The Inn will monitor the results of each selection process and the records in that regard will be retained for 12 months. Where there are significant discrepancies between proportions of applicants from a particular group and proportions of successful candidates from that group, the process will be reviewed with a view to addressing the observed discrepancy and ensuring that any inappropriate barriers to selection are removed.
Hall & Dining Facilities
25. In addition to the general principles stated above:
- The Inn will have regard to the diverse needs (including specific dietary requirements) of its student and member population in the Hall and Dining facilities that it provides.
- The Inn will seek, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure that its Hall and Dining facilities are accessible to all users.
Provision of Services
26. The Inn will take steps to meet the different needs of those who use its services and facilities (including but not limited to the library and the car park and other premises) and will not unlawfully discriminate on any of the prohibited grounds.
27. In addition, where necessary and appropriate, the Inn will seek to provide services which meet specific needs and requests arising from a person’s ethnic or cultural background, gender, disability, caring responsibilities, religion or belief, sexual orientation or any other relevant factor.
28. All of those who act on the Inn’s behalf will be informed of this Policy and will be expected to pay due regard to it when providing services or conducting business on the Inn’s behalf.
29. In all of its dealings (including those with suppliers, contractors and recruitment agencies) the Inn will seek to promote the principles of equality and diversity. The Inn will make all reasonable efforts to reflect its commitment to this Policy in its marketing and communication activities.
Taking action against Discrimination
30. Inner Temple will support an individual employee who is subject to unacceptable or unlawful discrimination. If an individual employee is unable to resolve informally a problem concerning discrimination or harassment, a formal grievance can be raised in accordance with the Employee Grievance Policy.
31. If an employee suffers intimidation, victimisation or discrimination for making a complaint of discrimination, filing a grievance or assisting another to do so, or in an investigation, disciplinary action may be taken against the alleged perpetrator.
32. Breach of this Policy may result in disciplinary action being taken, which could result in dismissal.
33. Employees who make bona fide complaints that are not upheld will be protected so far as is reasonably practicable from victimisation of any kind.
34. The Inn employs a broad spectrum of staff, across a range of activities, requiring different qualifications and experience. The aim of the Inn is to select the best individual for each position and in order to achieve that objective the following guidance applies in relation to recruitment:
- The Inn will recruit from the widest pool of qualified candidates reasonably practicable.
- The Inn will ensure that employment opportunities are open and accessible to all on the basis of individual qualities and personal merit.
- Assessment of candidates for vacancies within the Inn will be fair, objective and free from discrimination on any of the prohibited grounds identified in this Policy, and reasonable adjustments will be made for any candidate requiring such an adjustment by reason of a disability.
- All vacancies, but not internal promotions, will be advertised internally and externally and the Inn will have regard to the encouragement of applications from groups which are under-represented within the Inn in deciding where and how it advertises.
- All advertisements will include a reference to this Policy and to the Inn’s preparedness to make reasonable adjustments for candidates with disabilities.
- Where recruitment agencies are used, this Policy will be included within the instructions to any such agency.
- Application forms will be used in preference to curriculum vitae.
- All jobs within the Inn will have a job description and person specification; the job description will identify (at least) the job purpose, primary responsibilities and key activities; the person specification will identify (at least) the knowledge, skills and other abilities equired; each time a vacancy occurs, the job description and person specification will be reviewed to ensure that it is up-to-date.
- Selection panels (consisting of two or more people) will be responsible for drawing up objective selection criteria based on the job description and person specification for the vacancy concerned; these will be applied consistently throughout the process and advertised in so far as is reasonably practicable.
- Those members and employees involved in selection will receive guidance and/or training on best practice in selection and interviewing, and in relation to this Policy.
- Interviews will be structured so that, as far as is reasonably practicable, the same broad areas are covered in questions to all candidates and all questions will relate to the selection criteria for the vacancy.
- Written records will be made of decisions taken at the short-listing and interviewing stages in respect of each candidate, and those records will be retained for at least 12 months.
- Where references are sought, a standard form will be used in so far as is reasonably practicable; alternatively, referees will be directed as to the selection criteria applicable to the vacancy and as to the information required from them.
- Candidates for appointment will be asked to complete monitoring forms, to enable the Inn to review the selection process by reference to reliable statistics, and those forms will be detached from the application form and will play no part in the selection process.
- The Inn will monitor the results of each selection process and the records in this regard will be retained for 12 months. Training, Promotion and other terms and conditions during employment.
35. The Inn recognises and respects individual differences and treats employees according to their individual needs. Employment decisions will be made by reference to sound, objective criteria and based on merit, personal skill and ability, and potential contribution. The object is to create a working environment that is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment and which respects the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of employees.
36. Terms and conditions of service for employees will comply with anti-discrimination legislation. The provision of benefits such as pay, working hours, maternity and other leave arrangements, and performance appraisal systems, dress code, bonus schemes where applicable and any other conditions of employment will not unlawfully discriminate against any employee on any prohibited ground.
37. Where appropriate and necessary, the Inn will endeavour to provide appropriate facilities and conditions of service to take account of the specific needs of employees arising from their ethnic or cultural background, gender, disability, caring responsibilities, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.
38. All employees will have equal access to training and other career development opportunities appropriate to their experience and abilities. Support for groups which are under-represented within the Inn may be provided to encourage such groups to take up training and career development opportunities, but recruitment or promotion to all jobs will be based solely on merit, skill and potential contribution.
39. Promotion will be determined without reference to any prohibited ground and decisions in that regard will be based on merit, personal skill and ability, and potential contribution.
Grievance and Discipline
40. Employees of the Inn may raise any complaint relating to their employment with the Inn in accordance with the provisions of the Employee Grievance Policy.
41. All employees of the Inn are subject to the provisions of the Inn’s disciplinary policy.
42. All employees of the Inn will, at the commencement of their employment, be provided with a copy of the Employee Grievance Policy and the disciplinary policy. Copies of these policies will also be obtainable from the Collector’s department.
Equality & Diversity Guidance
The Bar Council and Bar Standards Board have developed a range of guides to assist barristers, chambers' Equality and Diversity Officers, practice managers and clerks in developing policies and procedures for a number of key areas covered by the Equality and Diversity rules in the BSB Handbook.
More information, and links to download the guidance notes, are available from the Bar Council website.