Equality & Diversity

Mixed race and sex teamThe New Zealand Bar Association | Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture is committed to developing a referral bar that reflects the diversity of the legal profession and the wider community.  

The Diversity Committee & Diversity Policy

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee was established to advance the NZBA’s commitment to diversity and has developed a Diversity Policy. 

The Committee develops and promotes initiatives and activities to promote equality, diversity and inclusion across the independent bar.

The Committee’s objectives include promoting the independent bar as a career choice for all, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious belief, cultural or socio-economic background and/or disability. It seeks to identify and address barriers and assumptions that inhibit the progression of individuals into and within the profession. Examples of such barriers include discrimination, non-equal treatment and socio-economic factors.

The Committee’s overarching aspiration is to foster and achieve “A profession representative of all and for all”.

The Gender Equitable Engagement and Instruction Policy

On 5 December 2017, the Gender Equitable Engagement and Instruction Policy (GEEIP) was launched by the New Zealand Bar Association | Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture and New Zealand Law Society. Its key objective was that policy adopters would use reasonable endeavours to have women lawyers with relevant expertise take the lead on at least 30% of court proceedings, arbitral proceedings and major regulatory investigations.

The Law Society also rolled out its Gender Equality Charter (GEC). This had a wider application than just those at the bar. Following discussions between the two organisations in 2022, it was decided to roll the GEEIP into the GEC to simplify the system. The equitable briefing provisions appear in section 5 of the GEC. They aim to ensure that women lawyers receive a fair allocation of work and lead roles in significant engagements and instructions in all areas of work.

If your organisation, firm or chambers would like to adopt the charter or find out more, please email womeninlaw@lawsociety.org.nz

Gender Research

The NZBA received a grant from The Law Foundation to fund research into the gender ratio of lawyers appearing in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. This research was conducted in 2017/18, and the final Report was released on 3 September 2018. The study shows the gender ratios of senior and junior lawyers appearing in both appellate Courts between 1 January 2012 and 1 January 2018. 

Click here to view the Report and press release.

In 2021, in conjunction with the Law Foundation we updated this research to include appearances up to 2019. Click here for that report.

In 2024 we have begun research on appearances between 2019 to 2023. 

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