9 St John Street Chambers were delighted to host the FreeBar and Northern Circuit LGBT+ social event on Thursday 2 November 2023. Please read the interesting article written by Isabel Baylis below who was instrumental in organising this successful event.
On Thursday 2 November, the Northern Circuit joined forces with the organisation Freebar to host a social event for LGBT+ barristers, clerks, students, the judiciary and their allies. FreeBar is a network aiming to foster inclusion and support for LGBT+ people working as and with barristers. It was held at Nine St John Street Chambers in Manchester.
The event was a melting pot from the most junior to the most senior. Bar students and pupils were able to enter a supportive space in which they could meet LGBT + people in practice and experience the social side of the Northern Circuit. Barristers ranged from those who had just obtained tenancy, to all levels of seniority and call, which meant attendees had the opportunity to catch up with old friends, as well as make new connections.
It was invaluable for the barristers and bar students attending the event to feel such solidarity from clerking teams. Clerks shared their experiences such as dealing with homophobia from members of the public who had visited chambers.
The event was well supported by senior members of the Bar and judiciary. Special thanks go to leader of the circuit Jaime Hamilton KC for his attendance, as well as Mr Justice Fordham, HHJ Hilary Manley, HHJ Richard Pearce and HHJ Suzanne Goddard KC. It was interesting to hear from such experienced voices, including on judicial training, changes to the Bar and LGBT+ issues when presiding over a court room.
The Northern Circuit is proud of its LGBT+ community and proud to have been able to welcome prospective new members in such a supportive environment. If you would be interested in attending future Northern Circuit LGBT+ and allies events, or joining forces to hold one, please do let Clare Calder at the Northern circuit know and you will be added to any communications. The relevant email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to find out more about Freebar and/or get involved in their work, you can visit their website https://freebar.co.uk
This article is written by Isabel Baylis, Equality and Diversity Officer at Nine St John Street and member of Northern Circuit and FreeBar, who helped to coordinate the event.