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National Roundtable on Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession

17 July 2020
 

The Law Council held a virtual national roundtable on 8 July 2020 to discuss sexual harassment in the legal profession and strategies to address this complex and pervasive issue.

The aim of the roundtable was to provide a forum for experts from across the country to refine policy positions for specific legislative reforms, and to further develop approaches that can be adopted to combat this important issue.

Attendees included inclusion and diversity representatives from the Law Council’s Constituent Bodies, the Australian Bar Association, regulators of the legal profession, women lawyers’ associations, law student and university representatives and the Sex Discrimination Commissioner.

Following informative and practical discussions, participants agreed on certain proposals for further consideration and advancement by the Law Council in consultation with its constituent bodies and the relevant stakeholders, including:

  1. Specific amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), including the extension of the prohibition of sexual harassment to all areas of life, and not just in respect of certain relationships and situations.
     
  2. Measures to facilitate cultural change in the legal profession, including the facilitation of uniform policies and approaches to sexual harassment, training, as well of further consideration of the relevant professional conduct rules.

The Law Council will work with its constituent bodies to develop these measures into a blueprint for addressing sexual harassment in the legal profession.

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