In 2014 the Commercial Bar Association of Victoria, the judiciary and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission began work together to understand and address equity issues for female barristers at the commercial bar. Of specific concern was the notion that women practising at the Victorian Bar in commercial law were briefed less frequently than their male counterparts and received briefs of less value.
The Equitable Briefing Initiative was developed to analyse the briefing practices of law firms and government entities who volunteered to be a part of the initiative by submitting data over a three-year period from 2016–19 on their briefing practices, and to focus on reducing any gender bias apparent in briefing practices.
This report analyses results from the first stage of the Equitable Briefing Initiative. It aims to identify any bias in briefing practices and considers whether the number of briefs to female barristers are proportionate at each level of seniority, and whether the average value of briefs to men and women are equivalent at each level of seniority.