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Faculty promotes equality with Fair Instructions Policy

8 February 2018

A new Fair Instructions Policy has been announced by the Faculty of Advocates has announced, in order to ensure that counsel are instructed solely on the basis of skill, experience and ability.

Past research has indicated a bias among some solicitors to instructing male rather than female advocates. Under the policy, the Faculty will monitor the allocation of work given to its members to ensure fairness in the way the allocation has taken place.

Stables at the Faculty will appoint at least one of their senior members as an equality and diversity officer, who will receive special training and will be responsible for promoting the policy.

Faculty will also encourage instructing solicitors and those who can instruct an advocate directly, such as public authorities and professional bodies, to support a public statement summarising the aims of the policy.

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for anyone to select counsel on the basis of "protected characteristics", including age, race, religion and gender.

Welcoming the new policy, Dean of Faculty Gordon Jackson QC commented: "I am delighted that the Faculty has reinforced its commitment to championing equality and diversity at the bar with this new policy.

"As the body which represents all advocates in Scotland, the Faculty has a responsibility to ensure that allocation of work should be conducted in a manner which is fair, objective and free from bias for all its members. Our new Fair Instructions Policy does exactly that."

Click here to access the public statement and the full policy.

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