Anti-Harassment & Anti-Bullying Policy

1       Summary of Policy

1.1       Pavocat Chambers (“Pavocat”) is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals, clients and the public are treated with dignity and respect.

1.2       Pavocat takes a zero-tolerance approach to harassment and bullying by members, staff and others for whom it is responsible. Pavocat will also take reasonable steps to prevent and address bullying and harassment by others.

1.3       Harassment will not be tolerated or condoned. Employees, members, trainees, work experience placements and others who work at or for Pavocat, or with individuals subject to this policy (for example, clients of Pavocat) have a right to complain if it occurs.

1.4       Bullying, harassment and sexual harassment will normally be regarded as gross misconduct and will lead to disciplinary action under Pavocat’s Conduct and Capability procedures.

2       Definitions

2.1       Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 and will not be tolerated in any form at Pavocat.

  • In summary, harassment consist of any unwanted conduct related to sex, race, disability, gender identity and reassignment, religion or belief (or absence thereof), sexual orientation, age, pregnancy or maternity, which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or of creating for that person an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
  • In summary, sexual harassment consists of unwanted conduct of a sexual nature / related to gender or sex which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment and/or less favourable treatment for rejecting or refusing to submit to such conduct.

2.2       Harassment not linked to any protected characteristic is also unlawful under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 .

2.3       Bullying includes offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, and any abuse or misuse of power which undermines, humiliates, denigrates or injures the recipient.

2.4       Victimisation is treating a person less favourably because they have raised, or been involved in raising, or are thought to be going to raise issues of equality or harassment under the Equality Act 2010.

2.5       Harassment and bullying may include:

  • Verbal or non-verbal physical or visual behaviour.
  • A single act or a series of acts.
  • Behaviour which has the effect set out above, even if the perpetrator does not intend or realise that it will have this effect, particularly if they should have anticipated or realised that it would have the effect which it had.
  • Behaviour which is not directed at the person who find it intimidating, offensive etc.

3               Examples of Harassment or Bullying

The following are examples of types of behaviour which may, depending on the circumstances, amount to harassment or bullying:

    • Physical or sexual assault.
    • Requests for sexual favours, for example in return for career advancement.
    • Unwelcome sexual advances.
    • Unreasonable physical contact.
    • Unnecessary and degrading references to someone’s protected characteristics.
    • Spreading rumours or gossip.
    • Exclusion from social networks and activities or other forms of isolation.
    • Verbal abuse, including shouting and intimidation.
    • Compromising suggestions or invitations.
    • Suggestive remarks or looks.
    • Display of offensive materials, including on a computer screen.
    • Offensive jokes, with a verbal or written.
    • Offensive remarks or ridicule.
    • Overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position.
    • Making threats or comments about job security without Foundation.
    • Deliberately undermining someone, for example by unreasonable overloading and / or criticism.
    • Unfair work assignments.
    • Unreasonably asking intrusive questions.
    • Dealing inappropriately or inadequate the with complaints of harassment.

4       Application of this Policy

4.1       A copy of this Policy is provided to all those for whom Pavocat constitutes their working environment, including members, associates, academics, trainees, employees, temporary workers, applicants, those who provide services to Pavocat such as contract cleaners, accountants and IT managers, and work experience students. People are required to comply with the terms Policy.

4.2       A copy of this policy will be published on Pavocat’s website, to draw the policy to the attention of clients and visitors.

5       Raising a Complaint

5.1       Where appropriate, Pavocat encourages people who are concerned about bullying and harassment to address behaviour informally and at an early stage. This may be done by approaching the person responsible directly or by involving or seeking advice from a third party, such as a colleague or Pavocat’s Equality & Diversity Officer (“EDO”).  It may be that the person responsible does not appreciate the effect of their behaviour and some concerns can be resolved by simply talking the matter through.

5.2       However, Pavocat recognises that this will not be possible or appropriate in all cases. Any person who wishes to make a complaint of harassment or bullying should therefore follow the Grievance & Complaints Procedure. They should also be aware of the position in relation to confidentiality as set out at Section 5 of that Procedure.

5.3       Harassment is misconduct and, for members, is also a breach of the Bar Standards Board (“BSB”) handbook.  Bullying is also misconduct.  They therefore may result in disciplinary action being taken under the Conduct & Capability Procedures contained in this Handbook.

6       Duty to Report Serious Misconduct for Members

6.1       Allegations which may amount to serious misconduct may be reported to the BSB under its reporting procedure.

6.2       Members have a duty to inform the BSB if they have reasonable grounds to believe that another member has committed serious misconduct. Guidance for members on their duty to report serious misconduct can be found on the BSB website. Reference to this duty is also contained in Section 8 of Pavocat’s Grievance & Complaints Procedure.

7       Statement on Victimisation

7.1       Pavocat is committed to ensuring, as best it can, that no-one who makes an allegation of harassment in good faith should be subjected to any detriment as a result. Any victimisation of a complainant, witness or anyone else involved in the investigation may result in disciplinary action being taken under the Conduct and Capability procedure contained in this Handbook.

7.2       Victimisation is also unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

8       Review of this Policy

This Policy shall be reviewed in accordance with the procedure contained in Pavocat’s Handbook entitled ‘Procedure for Reviewing this Handbook’.

9       Support and Advice under this Policy

9.1       If you have been a victim of harassment or bullying, you are able to seek the advice of our EDO, James Johnstone (

9.2       You are also able to nominate a companion if you wish to make a complaint under the grievance and complaints policy.

10      Bar Council Support

10.1     The Bar Council has a helpline which puts you through to a member of the Bar Council’s equality and diversity team who are responsible for issues including harassment at the Bar.