Gray’s Inn is committed to being an institution, a professional and membership association and an employer which not only opposes racism and all forms of discrimination but actively challenges itself and others to create a fair and just society for all.
We, as an Inn of Court, take our moral obligations, together with our statutory and regulatory duties seriously. It is our goal to create a community and legal profession of equal opportunity and mutual respect. We wish to attract the best talent from all backgrounds. We benefit from being exposed to different perspectives and values. Valuing equality, diversity and inclusion are missions not just in theory but in practice. We remain receptive to ideas to do better.
The Inn is a place of excellence in legal scholarship and training but it is also a point of friendship with a rich and varied social calendar. People from all races, genders, sexual orientations, and social backgrounds join and share the objective of strengthening the rule of law in the public interest and the integrity of the legal system in England and Wales and internationally. To be effective, respected and to provide justice for all, the law and its practitioners must not discriminate in any way.
Gray’s Inn is an institution that has long increased efforts to encourage, welcome and include everyone who joins the profession in the life of the Inn. It seeks to support all to achieve their potential.
Key priorities are the increase of scholarships and widening access to the profession both for students and new members of the Inn. Specifically, we at the Inn provide mentoring and support networks to those who need them.
We realise that statements without actions are meaningless, not least in the pursuit of racial equity. We have done the following:
- Established an Equality & Diversity Review chaired and led by Members which is reviewing our Outreach, Scholarships, Training, Recruitment, Committee composition, as well as the general environment of the Inn. It will make recommendations to the Inn’s Management Committee and report to Pension
- Undertaken a review of the process by which the Masters of the Bench are elected to ensure it does not unfairly discriminate or exclude
- Hosted a debate ‘What say Barristers about ‘Black Lives Matter’ and what if anything can Gray’s Inn do to help?’ in order to learn and identify action points
- Reviewed the methodology by which our scholarships are awarded
- Became a supporter of the Charter For Black Talent in Finance and the Professions
- Taken (and continue to take) concrete steps to promote outreach (and hence opportunity) in practice, through our Gray’s and the City Working Group
We also continue to review our own actions and work to further embed equality, diversity, empathy, civility and anti-racism into the fabric of the Inn. There is no one quick fix to the poisonous and life limiting effects of racial discrimination in all its guises. Combating it takes time and so this is a long- term continuing objective for the Inn, requiring constant evaluation.
As an institution we have evolved over the centuries, retaining tradition but accepting challenges and instigating change as the world and its attitudes have changed. We are proud that we have produced Members who, where necessary, confront society, the status quo and governments. The Inn thus celebrates diversity with about a third of our members from backgrounds under-represented at the Bar in terms of race and ethnicity. We continue to strive to provide an inclusive and welcoming home for everyone, attracting and nurturing the best possible talent for the Employed and Self-Employed Bar. We welcome cooperation from our Membership and wider society as Gray’s Inn sets its face against racism – in keeping with the Gray’s Inn ethos of inclusion and caring for all our members as individuals.