Commenting on the first meeting of the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions, Desmond Browne QC, the Chairman of the Bar, said: “Since Lord Neuberger delivered his report in November 2007, the Bar Council has made significant progress toward implementing his recommendations. This progress can be followed on the Bar Council website under the Neuberger Monitoring and Implementation Group, chaired by Duncan Matthews QC, which has been instrumental in coordinating our achievements to date.
We shall not rest on our laurels, but some real progress has been achieved. Among pupil barristers there is now a slight majority of women. The number of black and ethnic minority entrants to the profession has risen steadily and we continue to reach out to those whose backgrounds might – wrongly – make them think that a career at the Bar is beyond their reach.
Where any graduate with the necessary ability aspires to join our profession, social, cultural or economic factors must not prevent them. We are not there yet, but the Bar is moving in the right direction. We must build on our achievements so that the Bar continues to lead the way on inclusivity. We shall be following the progress of the Panel with great interest, and are keen to learn from the approach of other professions.”