Equality & Diversity

Equality and Diversity Policy

We are committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination and to promoting equality and diversity within our policies, practices and procedures. This applies to our professional dealings with clients, all staff (including partners), other solicitors, barristers, experts and third parties.

Howard Marsh is responsible for implementing and monitoring our Equality & Diversity policy. He undertakes a review of this policy at least every three years to verify it is in effective operation and ensures that appropriate action is taken in relation to any non-compliance identified under this policy or barriers to equal opportunities.

We treat everyone equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of:

We take all reasonable steps to ensure that the firm and its staff do not unlawfully discriminate under:

Wherever possible, we take steps to promote equal opportunity in relation to access to the legal services that we provide, taking account of the diversity of the communities that we serve, in order to ensure that, subject to funding constraints, our services are accessible to all clients.  

We are committed to meeting the diverse needs of clients. We will take steps to identify the needs of clients in the community and develop plans and procedures setting out how we will meet clients’ needs and for ensuring the services which we provide are accessible to all.  We will take account, in particular, the needs of clients with a disability and clients who are unable to communicate effectively in English.  We will consider whether particular groups are predominant within our client base and, where possible, will ensure that their needs are met.

We do not unlawfully discriminate in dealings with experts and third parties.

We treat all job applicants equally and fairly and do not unlawfully discriminate against them. We do this by ensuring that we operate an open and fair recruitment process, using selection criteria which do not discriminate, and making decisions based on individual qualities and personal merit. Promotion within the firm (including into the partnership) is made solely on merit.

We consider all employees to be equal and create a working environment which is free from unlawful discrimination. This applies equally to voluntary positions and anyone undertaking work experience with us. This will, for example, include arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, access to promotion and transfers, grievance and disciplinary processes, dress code, work allocation and any other employment related activities.

Written instructions will be provided to all staff members on equality in relation to employees and recruitment including :

All staff are informed of this policy as part of their induction and during annual equality & diversity update training.  All staff are expected to pay due regard to the provisions of this policy and are responsible for ensuring compliance with it when undertaking their jobs or representing our firm.

We treat seriously all complaints of unlawful discrimination made by any of our staff, clients, barristers, experts or other third parties and will take action where appropriate. All complaints are investigated in accordance with our grievance or complaints procedure and the complainant will be informed of the outcome. We also monitor the number and outcome of complaints of discrimination.

Where acts of unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation and/or failure to comply with this policy by any member of staff are identified, we will ensure that our Disciplinary Procedure is followed and this may result in disciplinary proceedings being instigated.

We monitor and record equality & diversity information about staff and partners on the basis of age, gender, ethnicity, and disability. We monitor, at least annually:

In addition to the monitoring undertaken as set out above, we also annually monitor the number of employees from different gender, disability, age, ethnic groups by grade when :

All monitoring data will be reviewed by Mr Marsh and he will be responsible for implementing remedial action where any under-representation of the groups listed above is identified. In such cases, the firm will seek professional advice from an employment specialist and/or the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in relation to the appropriate remedial action to be taken. It is recognised that such remedial action could include the identification of specific training needs and/or the taking of positive action to increase employee diversity.

We provide equality and diversity information to the Legal Aid Agency as required in relation to staff and clients under the terms of our Contract with the Legal Aid Agency.

We identify equality and diversity training needs as and when appropriate, and address them as part of our overall training plan.  This includes the provision of annual update equality & diversity training.   Our Equality & Diversity training and communication objectives are reviewed at least annually and detailed in our Equality and Diversity Training and Communication Plan.