Media release - Review of harassment in legal profession underway

Consultation is now open in the Review of Harassment in the Legal Profession in South Australia, being undertaken by the Acting Commissioner for Equal Opportunity. 

The Review of Harassment in the Legal Profession was commissioned at the request of State Parliament in October last year. 

Following preliminary work undertaken over the past few months, Interim Commissioner Steph Halliday said the Commission was now ready to hear the views of those working in the sector. 

She said the review will examine the laws and complaint mechanisms for harassment in the legal profession and opportunities for improvement, including consideration of an independent complaints body. 

“This is an opportunity for people who work, or who have previously worked, in legal services to have their say about their experiences and to contribute to meaningful, informed change,” Ms Halliday said. 

“Recent events, including the release of the Commission’s review into the parliamentary workplace, show us why it is so important to examine these issues, determine the extent of any deficiencies in process and how they can be addressed. 

“The more information we can gather, the better placed we are to recommend actions that will deliver improvements for all those working in the sector.” 

People who work or who have previously worked in the legal profession or a workplace that provides legal services can have their say through any one of the options of an online survey, written submissions or interviews.

This includes people who practise the law (legal practitioners) as well as those who provide legal administration services or are currently studying law. All participation will be confidential.  

“While the primary focus is sexual harassment, we are keen to understand the extent of harassment involving other aspects of the Equal Opportunity Act, such as discriminatory harassment on the grounds of race, disability, gender or religious beliefs,” Ms Halliday said. 

“The review is looking at systemic issues and how they can be addressed – it is not intended to be a mechanism to investigate complaints.

“However, if someone wishes to make a complaint, we will be happy to advise on the appropriate avenues to take.” 

The Commission will undertake interviews with participants between Tuesday 9 March and Friday 26 March 2021. To request an interview, please email legalEOCreview@sa.gov.au

Written submissions will be accepted until close of business on Friday 19 March 2021, at legalEOCreview@sa.gov.au. The survey will be open until 11:59pm on Sunday 21 March 2021. 

A report on the review’s findings will be published on the EOC website after it has been tabled in Parliament.

More information, including the review terms of reference, scope and methodology and how to have your say, is available on our website