On 3 July 2021, the Bar Council endorsed the creation of a national Peer Support Network (“PSN”) for survivors of sexual harassment in the legal profession.
Subsequently, on 11 Dec 2021 the Bar Council approved Ruling 14.29 under Chapter 14 of the Bar Council Rules and Rulings, which states as follows:
14.29. Sexual harassment constitutes misconduct under section 94(3) of the Act
(1) Any act of sexual harassment by an Advocate and Solicitor or a pupil in a professional capacity or in a professional setting amounts to misconduct.
(2) Sexual harassment means any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, visual, gestural or physical, made directly or indirectly at a person or physically communicated in person or through the use of any medium or physical conduct, which a reasonable person would consider to be offensive or humiliating or a threat to their well-being or comfort.
PSN was officially launched on 15 Dec 2021, and since then, the Bar Council has trained lawyers to volunteer as case handlers. The case handlers will assist these survivors to find resolution and redress, ie steps that the survivors can take, within the following avenues:
(a) Within the law firm;
(b) In a criminal law complaint (by lodging police report);
(c) In a complaint to the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board (“ASDB”) (by lodging complaint with ASDB); and
(d) In a civil suit.
If you are a Member of the Bar or a pupil in chambers who has suffered from sexual harassment in the legal workplace (in a professional capacity or in a professional setting), please click here to access the PSN Feedback Form to file your feedback on the incident(s).
If you have any general enquiries or if you would like to volunteer to be trained as a case handler, please contact us at email@example.com.