THE state’s most experienced female lawyers will work closely with top judges under an new, innovative program designed to bring more women to the Independent Bar.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Chris Kourakis today announced the “Step Up to the Bar” program would go ahead, following a ruling by the Equal Opportunity Tribunal.
The program is an annual, full-time opportunity for experienced practitioners to gain exposure to complex cases before sitting their examinations to become barristers.
Participants will work with Supreme Court judges, including the state’s three female Justices, in the hopes of addressing the gender imbalance at the top of the legal fraternity.
The program required an exemption, under the Equal Opportunity Act (1984), to advertise positions exclusively for women before it could proceed.
Today, Chief Justice Kourakis said only 25 per cent of the state’s barristers were women.
“For several decades, an equal number of women and men have graduated from our law schools — we can no longer assume proportionate representation will balance out over time,” he said.
“We need to take a focused approach to boosting the number of women candidates for appointment to higher positions, including Senior Counsel and as judges.”