Faculty of Advocates reveals ‘Fair Instructions Policy’
The Faculty of Advocates has announced a new “Fair Instructions Policy”, putting robust systems in place to ensure that counsel are instructed solely on the basis of skill, experience and ability.
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 training in equality and diversity and will be responsible for promoting the policy.
Also, the Faculty will 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 what are known as “protected characteristics”. Those include age, race, religion and gender.
Dean of Faculty, Gordon Jackson QC, welcomed the new policy. He said: “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.”
The public statement and the policy can be found on the Faculty website.