1.0          Aim and Scope

1.1          St John’s Buildings is committed to making reasonable adjustments in order to remove or reduce substantial disadvantage for disabled people working with chambers or receiving legal services.
1.2          This policy covers all employees, barristers, pupils, mini-pupils and visitors to chambers.

2.0          Circulation

2.1          This policy will be contained within our Quality Procedures Manual, posted on our website and circulated to all members, pupils and employees who are required to read and understand it. Advice about this policy can be sought from the Human Resources team and David Anderson, Head of Corporate Services.

3.0          Definition of Disability

3.1          For the purposes of this policy the definition of disability follows that set out in the Equality Act 2010 s.6. A person is therefore disabled if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.   “Substantial” means more than minor or trivial and “long term” means 12 months or more.

4.0          Types of Reasonable Adjustment

4.1          What is reasonable will depend on each situation. This policy does not provide an exhaustive list of the reasonable adjustments that chambers will make for employees, barristers, pupils or visitors, however, the following types of adjustment that may be made are listed below:

4.1.1          Provision of accessible conference room facilities;

4.1.2          Workstation adjustments;

4.1.3          Provision of information in electronic format or large print;

4.1.4          Provision of a reader or interpreter.

5.0          Employees, Barristers and others in Chambers

5.1          Employees with specific requests and needs should discuss these with their line manager and the Head of Human Resources. Barristers and pupils should discuss their needs with their senior clerk and/or David Anderson. All requests for reasonable adjustments will be considered on a case by case basis, bringing in additional advice where needed from occupational health advisors, chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officer and Access to Work.

5.2          Consideration will be given to whether the adjustment:

  • Will remove or reduce the disadvantage for the person with the disability;
  • Is practical and affordable to make;
  • Could harm the health and safety of others.

5.3          Where it is not possible to make a requested adjustment, chambers will discuss viable alternatives with the applicant.

5.4          The Senior Management Team are responsible for considering whether or not disabled employees, barristers or pupils in each of our sites require assistance during an emergency evacuation and if so whether or not a personal emergency evacuation plan is required for the individual/s concerned. If so, the plan will be developed in partnership with the individual concerned in order to ensure that adjustments to the emergency evacuation procedure may be made.

6.0          Visitors to Chambers

6.1          Barristers are responsible for considering reasonable adjustment requests for their visitors.  They are also responsible for anticipating any likely reasonable adjustments that will need to be made for visitors whom they know to be disabled and are likely to require assistance.   They should liaise with their clerks to ensure suitable instructions are added to meeting bookings (e.g. where a ground floor meeting room may be required).   Visitor requests for specific reasonable adjustments may be made by via our Reception team or clerks.

6.2          Candidates attending chambers for interview, e.g. for pupillage, tenancy or employment, will be asked if they have any access requirements arising from a disability to enable them to attend and take part in the interview process, by the person(s) arranging the interviews.

7.0          Cost of making reasonable adjustments 

7.1          In no circumstances will St Johns Buildings pass on the cost of a reasonable adjustment to a disabled person.   Where appropriate chambers will work with Access to Work, who may be able to make recommendations and contribute to the cost of making reasonable adjustments.

8.0          Monitoring and Review 

8.1          This policy is reviewed by chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officer and Head of HR ever two years.   The date of the next review will be in April 2023.