Faculty hosts ’inspiring’ IWD advocacy event

Pictured (L-R): Anna Poole QC, Maryam Labaki, Angela Grahame QC, and Claire Mitchell

A celebration of advocacy proved a very popular event for the Faculty of Advocates to mark International Women’s Day.

The Lord President, Lord Carloway, gave an insight, to much mental and physical note-taking, on what judges look for in advocates. His overriding call was for “assistance not obfuscation”.

Anna Poole QC, tackled equitable briefing and said the big problem to address, and it was being addressed, was subconscious bias.

“All of us have grown up in a world where, predominantly, figures in authority have been male and that does affect us and there is a bias, not deliberate, but a bias towards men,” she suggested.

In conversation, the Vice-Dean of Faculty, Angela Grahame QC, and Claire Mitchell, president of the Scottish Criminal Bar Association, said they would love to see more women joining the bar, and staying.

“I really hope that what we are doing now and changes that are being made will have long-term effects,” said the Vice-Dean.

Members of the audience were enthusiastic in their praise of the event.

“I will certainly be applying to the bar in the future. Great work ladies and of course Lord Carloway” one woman tweeted.

“Interesting and informative contributions from all the speakers” and “enjoyable and inspiring” said others; “incredibly thought provoking” was one man’s take on the evening.

Before having to dash off to another engagement, Lord Carloway commented: “It was a great pleasure to be here to hear of initiatives to ensure much greater gender equality at the bar and on the bench.”

Ms Poole said: “I’d like to thank those who came to celebrate IWD with the Faculty. I’d also like to encourage everyone who was there to take on board the IWD 2018 message, and Press for Progress to solve the problem of inequitable briefing of counsel in Scotland.”

Another highlight of the evening was a photographic exhibition, Advocates: women at work, by Victoria Young, Advocate. The portraits can be seen at https://victoriayoung.smugmug.com/International-WomenHs-Day-2018-E/n-ZHT9VB with the password: iwd

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