The Inns of Court Alliance for Women (ICAW)

The Inns of Court Alliance for Women exists to encourage and support women throughout their careers, and to increase retention and diversity within the profession. The ICAW recognises the challenges and barriers to career progression and wellbeing faced by women in the law, and the intersectional disadvantage faced by women from non-white ethnic backgrounds and by women with disabilities.

The Inns of Court Alliance for Women (ICAW) Co-Convenors are:

The Rt Hon Lady Justice Nicola Davies DBE (Gray’s Inn)
Leigh-Ann Mulcahy KC (The Inner Temple)
Her Honour Judge Khatun Sapnara (Middle Temple)
Chief Master Karen Shuman (Lincoln’s Inn)

The ICAW commits to:

  • providing a safe forum where issues facing women in the profession can be discussed to foster a culture of mutual support
  • supporting the Inns’ commitment to equality, diversity, inclusion, and social mobility
  • taking an intersectional approach to talks and events to ensure the voices of women facing inequality are heard
  • promoting initiatives across the four Inns to support access, retention, and progression of women in the profession

Originally established in 2011 by Professor Dawn Oliver, then Treasurer of Middle Temple, and subsequently developed into a joint initiative as The Temple Women’s Forum by Middle Temple and The Inner Temple in 2012/2013, with Co-Convenors Her Honour Judge Deborah Taylor and Rachel Langdale KC. The forum worked to identify key issues contributing to the decision by many women to leave the profession in the prime of their careers. In December 2021, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the first woman to be called to the Bar, Ivy Williams, it was agreed between the Inns of Court that the forum should become an entity of the four Inns under the new title of The Inns of Court Alliance for Women (ICAW). Male allies are welcomed and encouraged to support and participate in initiatives organised by the ICAW.

Upcoming Event

The ICAW 2022 Project

Summary of research relating to gender equality and the experiences of women barristers at the Bar of England and Wales.

Past Events

Related News & Events

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Temple North Women's Forum

Temple Women's Forum North was created in 2013, in Leeds, by Taryn Lee QC and Professor Iyiola Solanke, both Masters of the Bench of The Inner Temple, to extend the aims of the Temple Women's Forum to legal professionals in the North.



Read this article in Counsel Magazine about the work of the Temple Women’s Forum (November 2015)

Read Master Taylor's article about the Temple Women's Forum from the 2015/16 Inner Temple Yearbook

BSB - Women at the Bar Report

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