Equality and Diversity Policy

Picasso Legal is committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and bullying, and to promoting equality and diversity within our policies, practices and procedures. We are also committed to promoting equality and diversity in the practice. We shall treat everyone appropriately and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of:

• age;

• disability;

• gender reassignment;

• race;

• nationality, colour, ethnic or national origins;

• religion;

• gender;

• sexual orientation;

• marital status/civil partnership;

• Aids/HIV positive status;

• pregnancy, maternity, paternity or caring responsibility;

• work pattern;

• membership or non-membership of a trade union; or

• any other reason which is irrelevant to the employee’s ability to do the job.


We are committed to ensure that discrimination on any of the above grounds in our dealings with clients, potential clients, other solicitors, barristers and third parties is avoided. The policy also extends to all current employees, as well as applicants for positions within the practice and all related recruitment activity, along with internal promotions and training opportunities. We are also committed to promoting equality and diversity in all aspects of the practice’s operations including client service. 

In addition to the practice’s obligations not to discriminate against, harass or victimise those with a disability we are also subject to a duty to make reasonable adjustments to prevent those employees and clients who are disabled from being at a disadvantage in comparison with those who are not disabled. 

As a provider of private and publicly funded legal services, the practice will treat all clients equally and fairly and not unlawfully discriminate against them. The practice will also take steps to promote equality of opportunity in relation to access to the legal services that we provide, taking account of the diversity of the communities that we serve.

The practice is committed to meeting the diverse needs of clients, and will take steps to identify the needs of clients in our community, and develop policies and procedures setting out how we will meet clients’ needs and for ensuring the services we provide are accessible to all. We will take account, in particular, of the needs of clients with a disability, and clients who are unable to communicate effectively in English. We will consider whether particular groups are predominant within our client base and devise appropriate policies to meet their needs.

The practice will devise policies and procedures to promote and raise awareness to ensure that our services are accessible for a diverse range of clients.

In particular we will:

• in the development of our policies, take account of the interests of all sections of society;

• ensure that, wherever possible, the services we provide meet the needs and expectations of all our clients;

• seek to influence others with whom we often work, and from whom we purchase goods and services, to share our commitment to valuing the diversity of our society;

• regularly assess our progress towards becoming a diverse organisation providing excellent service to all sections of society;

• organise training to ensure that all members of staff are aware of the need to understand the purpose of the policy and to put the policy into practice;

• ensure all new and existing employees are referred to the equality and diversity policy;

• ensure that partners and employees:

  - deal with people with courtesy, politeness and consideration regardless of background;

  - take care to assess what clients can understand and to ask clients how they need to communicate – rather than make assumptions about this based on their ethnic origin, age or disability;

  - ensure that clients are advised that, where the office premises are not accessible to them, a home visit can be arranged;

  - in the case of clients with a physical disability visiting the office premises, ensure that, as far as possible, their safety is assured and access to the premises is organised;

  - provide clients with an impairment (visual, hearing, or speech) with options for communication;

  - in a case of clients where English is not their first language, provide access to language interpretations/translation wherever possible.

Signing facilities will be provided by the practice at its own expense for clients who are in need of them.  We have good connections with local charity, DeafSmart, who are able to provide assistance if required.  

Meeting Point House has good accessibility for clients with mobility problems, but if they prefer, their appointments can be at 40 Tan Bank or at their home or at Louise House in Shrewsbury.

The practice will not unlawfully discriminate in dealings with third parties. This applies to dealings with other legal service providers, e.g. counsel and general procurement, medical, mechanical and other experts that may be appointed to provide specialist services and advice.

The practice will instruct third parties on the basis of their skills, experience and ability, and not unlawfully discriminate, or encourage others to unlawfully discriminate, on the grounds of their age, gender, marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

If a client expresses a preference for an adviser that is based on any of the above grounds you should try to persuade them to modify their instructions.  If they refuse to do so, we may have to cease to act for them further. 

The practice will treat all staff (as described under ‘scope’ above) and job applicants fairly, and not unlawfully discriminate against them. This applies equally to voluntary positions and anyone undertaking work experience with the practice. This will, for example, include arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, access to promotion and transfers, grievance and disciplinary processes, demotions, selection for redundancies, dress code, references, bonus schemes, work allocation and any other employment related activities.

The practice recognises the benefits of having a diverse work force and will take steps to ensure that:

• it endeavours to recruit from the widest practical pool of qualified candidates;

• employment opportunities are open and accessible to all on the basis of their individual qualities and personal merit, while at the same time, applying a standard skills requirement;

• where appropriate, positive action measures are taken to attract applicants from all sections of society;

• all recruitment agencies acting for the practice are made aware of the practice’s equality and diversity policy and are expected to work within it;

• each member of staff is guaranteed a contract of employment;

• it commits to a grievance and disciplinary procedure as part of a ‘dignity at work programme’.

The practice will treat all employees appropriately, and create a working environment which is free from unlawful discrimination, and one which respects the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of employees. The provision of benefits such as flexible working hours, maternity and other leave arrangements, performance appraisal systems, dress code, bonus schemes and any other conditions of employment, will not unlawfully discriminate against any employee on the grounds of age, gender and gender reassignment, marital status, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation and disability.

Where appropriate and necessary, the practice will endeavour to provide appropriate facilities and conditions of service which take into account the specific needs of employees arising from, for example, their disability, ethnic or cultural background, gender and gender reassignment, responsibilities as carers, religion or belief or sexual orientation.

Promotion within the practice (including to partnership) will be made without reference to any of the forbidden grounds, and will be based solely on merit. The selection criteria and processes for recruitment and promotion will be kept under review to ensure that there is no unjustifiably discriminating impact on any particular group.

While positive action measures may be taken in accordance with relevant anti-discrimination legislation, to encourage applications from underrepresented groups, appointments to all jobs will be based solely on merit. All employees will have equal access to training and other career development opportunities appropriate to their experience and abilities. However, the practice will take appropriate positive action measures to provide special training support for groups which are underrepresented in the work force, and encourage them to take up training and career development opportunities.

Where partners or employees choose to disclose information regarding their sexual orientation or religion, steps will be taken to ensure that they are not being discriminated in any respect. The practice is aware that individuals may choose not to disclose this information, and that care will be taken to avoid discrimination in such cases.

Proven acts of unlawful discrimination on any of the forbidden grounds, by employees or partners of the practice, will result in disciplinary action, as will any failure to comply with this policy.

The practice will take appropriate action on receipt of any complaint of unlawful discrimination on any of the forbidden grounds that is made by employees, partners, clients or third parties. Any complaints of unlawful discrimination could, if upheld, be treated as gross misconduct, with the attendant consequences.

Anyone who feels that they have been subjected to a breach or breaches of this policy should immediately inform the Director who will deal with the complaint in accordance with the practice’s grievance procedures, and if necessary, invoke the practice’s disciplinary procedures.  All complaints and reported incidents will be thoroughly investigated, and the complainant will be informed of the outcome.  

The Director will monitor the number and outcome of complaints of discrimination made by employees, clients, partners and any third party, and a record will be kept.

Training has been held on this topic and on this policy and will be repeated as necessary, to include the actual contents of this policy.  The Director will monitor this policy periodically to judge its continuing effectiveness.  Workforce diversity monitoring will be conducted as required by the SRA through a questionnaire-based exercise. We are responsible for the operation of the policy.