The Law Society welcomes introduction of targets for briefing female barristers by Commonwealth agencies
Monday, 2 July 2018
The Law Society of Western Australia welcomes the Commonwealth Government’s announcement that all Commonwealth agencies will be set specific targets to brief senior and junior female barristers from 1 July 2018.
The Commonwealth Government has announced that amendments have been made to the Legal Services Directions, by which all Commonwealth entities are bound. The amendments require Commonwealth entities to make all reasonable endeavours to brief or select senior female barristers for at least 25 percent of all briefs and junior female barristers for at least 30 percent of all briefs.
The Commonwealth’s targets are in line with the objectives of the Law Council of Australia’s Equitable Briefing Policy, which is endorsed by the Law Society. In the case of the target for senior female barristers, the Government’s target in fact exceeds the 20 percent target set by the Law Council.
The Law Society has consistently advocated for gender parity in the legal profession, and has developed its own Equality of Opportunity Model Briefing Policyto supplement the Law Council’s Policy. The Law Society has also adopted the Law Council’s Diversity and Equality Charter, committing it to promoting diversity, equality, respect and inclusion within the legal profession.
The Law Society has recently progressed a number of initiatives to support the advancement of women in the legal profession, including advocating that the State Government adopt an equitable briefing policy for State agencies, successfully advocating for an amendment of the Supreme Court Consolidated Practice Directions to include that a part-time or flexible practice is not a bar to appointment as Senior Counsel, hosting seminars on unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion and offering a mentoring programme for practitioners seeking career guidance.
Gender parity continues to be a significant focus for the Law Society, as we work towards creating a more equitable and diverse legal profession.
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About us: The Law Society of Western Australia is the peak professional association for lawyers in the State. The Law Society is a not-for-profit association dedicated to the representation of its more than 4,000 members. The Law Society enhances the legal profession through its position as a respected leader and contributor on law reform, access to justice and the rule of law. The Law Society is widely acknowledged by the legal profession, government and the community as the voice of the legal profession in Western Australia.