Equality & Diversity

The Legal Services Act 2007

The CLSB is an approved regulator under the Legal Services Act 2007, which sets out regulatory objectives, one being to encourage an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal sector workforce.

What is equality?

It is a quality of being essentially the same in value or status among all people. In order to achieve equality, people must be fair and respect differences in their values and status, especially those from weaker or smaller groups must be protected. It is one of the basic human rights that every human being in the world should be entitled to.

The Equality Act 2010 (“Act”) came into effect on 1 April 2011 and sets out to:

(i)         Eliminate unlawful harassment, discrimination and victimisation.

(ii)        Advance equality of opportunity between different groups.

(iii)       Foster good relations between different groups.

What is diversity?

It is a state of having differences, whether it is age, condition, race, belief, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Only once equality is achieved, diversity becomes meaningful. The Act aims to promote diversity by fostering good relations between different groups of people.

The CLSB approach to equality & diversity

On 13 January 2016, the CLSB issued a guidance note  to all Costs Lawyers it authorises and regulates to encourage equality of opportunity and respect for diversity, preventing unlawful discrimination in the relationship of the Costs Lawyer with their clients and others. Encouraging Costs Lawyers to treat each other, employees and clients fairly and with respect embedding such values in the workplace and challenging inappropriate behaviour and processes.

Diversity monitoring within the Costs Lawyer profession

The CLSB actioned a diversity survey in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. In 2016, to bring the CLSB in line with the approach of other approved regulators, it was agreed those surveys now occur every three years. The survey was conducted on Costs Lawyers (CL (Survey Analysis) 2016) and Trainee Costs Lawyers (TCL (Survey Analysis) 2016).

Completion of a CLSB led diversity survey is required to be anonymous and offers a “prefer not to say” option. Accordingly, it is not a 100% accurate reflection of the profession, but a potential indicator. Questions asked relate to the following characteristics of the respondent – role, age, gender, disability, ethnic group, religion or belief, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, caring responsibilities.

Gender analysis of the Costs Lawyer profession

Since 2012, the CLSB has been monitoring the gender of the Costs Lawyers it authorises and regulates. At the end of 2017 this stats analysis was changed to be based on year end Costs Lawyer population. This has evidenced a small but steady “year on year” increase in females joining the profession.

  • At year end 2012

Male:          369      65.2%

Female:      197      34.8%

Total:          566

  • At year end 2017

Male:          415      58.6%

Female:      293      41.4%

Total           708

  • Change since 2012
  • Male: -6.6%
  • Female +6.6%


Age analysis of the Costs Lawyer profession

The following identifies the age profile of the Costs Lawyer profession, authorised and regulated by the CLSB at the end of year 2017.

Age range % of the profession 
20 – 29 inclusive 8.5%
30 – 39 inclusive 37%
40 – 49 inclusive 26%
50 – 59 inclusive 18%
60+ 8%
Info not given 2.5%