Leading barristers band together to support equal representation in arbitration

Jane Davies Evans and Anneliese Day KC among members of Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge’s new Bar subcommittee

Annaliese Day KC

The Equal Representation in Arbitration (ERA) Pledge’s newest subcommittee has called for sets and barristers to join its work in advancing the careers of women working in arbitration. 

The subcommittee aims to drive forward the diversity goals of the pledge, which is chaired by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringers London head of arbitration, Sylvia Noury KC, and Herbert Smith Freehills CEO Justin D’Agostino, and celebrated its seventh anniversary recently. 

The Bar subcommittee is led by Jane Davies Evans of 3 Verulam Buildings and includes Anneliese Day KC of Fountain Court, who sits on the LCIA’s board; 39 Essex Chambers’ Marion Smith KC; Lyndsey de Mestre KC of XXIV Old Buildings; Sarah Tulip of 3VB; Catherine Reeves, former solicitor and head of the arbitrator practice at Twenty Essex; and Lucy Burrows, deputy senior clerk at 3VB, who was named Unsung Hero in a Leadership Role at this year’s Women and Diversity in Law Awards

In a LinkedIn post, Evans noted that while the pledge “has resulted in significant advances in opportunities for women in arbitration, there is still much to be done.” 

The committee aims to expand awareness and implementation of the pledge throughout the Bar by individual barristers, senior management and clerks and practice managers. It envisages a network of ERA Pledge champions, with each set active in arbitration appointing someone to spearhead implementation of the pledge within their chambers. 

Day told GLP: “In the week that saw the first female Chief Justice appointed from the Bar, it is timely for the ERA Pledge Bar subcommittee to be reaching out to barristers (both self-employed and employed) to form a network of pledge champions.   

“The Bar has a vital role to play in achieving such ERA Pledge goals given that many arbitrator appointments involve members of the Bar and barristers are often involved in making recommendations for appointments. We encourage all those who care about diversity in our field – men and women – to reach out and join the Bar subcommittee to help us to implement the pledge."

The launch of the new committee builds on a successful ‘Meet the Female Arbitrators’ event hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills in March that included many women arbitrators and counsel from the Bar and was arranged jointly with the ERA Pledge.

In May, during London International Disputes Week, the Scottish Arbitration Centre launched domestic and international arbitration panels by unveiling an all-female line up to kick-off the project. 

Included on the list was 39 Essex’s Lindy Patterson KC, who sits as an arbitrator in England and Wales and Scotland, Twenty Essex’s Phillipa Charles and Scotland’s Suzanne Tanner KC.  

Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of the SAC said: “We decided to invite an all-female initial panel in a bid to ensure we have a head start in reaching greater gender equality as the panels are populated. This move further supports the ground-breaking provision in our rules that forces consideration of diversity and inclusion in respect of arbitral appointments.” 

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