Legal Professionals Call for Change at “Men – Only” Garrick Club
Over 100 QCs, along with other legal professionals, have signed a petition (https://www.womenatthegarrickclub.org/) highlighting concerns over the continuing policy of the Garrick Club, one of London’s last remaining gentlemen’s clubs, to refuse to accept female members. The petition calls on members of the Garrick Club to vote, at the club’s annual general meeting next week, for women to be admitted.
The petition adds to growing criticism of what is considered by many to be an antiquated policy at use at the Garrick Club, including comments made in 2011 by the former President of the Supreme Court Lady Hale: “I regard it as quite shocking that so many of my colleagues belong to the Garrick, but they don’t see what all the fuss is about,” and that judges “should be committed to the principle of equality for all.”
The issue of whether the Garrick Club’s continuing policy about its membership is discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”) has yet to be answered in Court, but it does not appear to sit comfortably with the promotion of diversity and equality, such as is intended by the Act. As such there are important questions to be asked about both the discriminatory effect of such policies in practical terms, and also the effectiveness of the Act in dealing with such policies. However, it is difficult to see how a similar policy that excluded people on the basis of their race or sexual preference could be deemed acceptable in today’s society.
If you would like advice or assistance in relation to any discriminatory practice, or feel that you may have been subjected to discrimination, please contact Rachel Waller by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)20 7091 2706