Equality and diversity

The CLSB is dedicated to creating a working and regulatory culture in which diversity is recognised and valued; equality of opportunity is promoted actively; and unlawful discrimination, victimisation and harassment are not tolerated.

As a regulator, we have a statutory objective to “encourage an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession” under the Legal Services Act 2007. We also have obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

What is equality and diversity?

We consider equality to mean removing barriers, eliminating discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities and access for all.

We consider diversity to mean celebrating difference and valuing everyone’s contribution. Each person is an individual with visible and non-visible differences. By recognising and respecting this, everyone can feel included and we can appreciate the benefits of working with people who approach things from a different perspective.

We acknowledge that equality and diversity are not interchangeable but interdependent. There can be no equality of opportunity if difference is not valued and harnessed.

The CLSB’s role

Under the Equality Act 2010, the CLSB must take into account certain factors when exercising its public functions, namely the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited under the Act
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
  • foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it

As a regulator

Under the Legal Services Act 2007, the CLSB must also promote the objective of encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession.

This sets the baseline for the CLSB’s role in promoting equality and diversity among the Costs Lawyer profession and the wider community. We are dedicated to creating a working and regulatory culture in which:

  • diversity is recognised and valued
  • equality of opportunity is promoted actively
  • unlawful discrimination, victimisation and harassment are exposed and never tolerated

We do this in various ways, for example by monitoring diversity within the profession, working to remove arbitrary barriers to entry, providing resources and guidance for Costs Lawyers, and ensuring our own internal policies and regulatory arrangements (including our Disciplinary Rules and Procedures) promote equality and diversity. In exercising our regulatory functions, we will seek to ensure that no individual or group is discriminated against because of a protected characteristic.

In June 2022, together with other regulators, we became a signatory to the principles for Tackling counter-inclusive conduct through disciplinary procedures. This confirmed our commitment to take action against counter-inclusive conduct and use the levers we have as a regulator to bring about meaningful change.

As an employer

As an employer, the CLSB will seek to ensure that no applicant, employee or group is discriminated against in recruitment, appointment, appointment terms and conditions, promotion, training or benefits because of a protected characteristic.

Our Equality and Diversity Statement can be accessed here.

What we expect from Costs Lawyers

Principle 6 of the Costs Lawyer Code of Conduct requires Costs Lawyers to treat everyone with dignity and respect. This includes clients, colleagues and third parties.

Costs Lawyers are expected to have and adhere to a written policy that prevents discrimination and harassment, and investigate any allegation of non-compliance with that policy. Costs Lawyers are also required to make reasonable adjustments for those with a disability, to ensure they are not at a disadvantage by comparison to those without disabilities.

As well as considering their own conduct, a Costs Lawyer should encourage any business of which they are a part to:

  • commit to the promotion of equality and diversity and comply with legislative requirements
  • have a written equality and diversity policy which is appropriate to the size and nature of the firm and which includes details of how complaints and disciplinary issues in relation to equality will be dealt with
  • provide employees and managers with appropriate training and information about complying with equality and diversity requirements

We also encourage Costs Lawyers to undertake training in relation to equality and diversity issues, such as addressing unconscious bias or developing an inclusive workplace culture. This kind of training may count toward CPD requirements.

Equality and diversity data

The first step in promoting diversity amongst Costs Lawyers is to understand the existing make-up of the profession. One way in which we do this is through a diversity survey. Data from the latest diversity survey is published on our website.

Other resources

We work with ACL Training to collect diversity data from students who enrol in the Costs Lawyer Qualification. You can contact us or ACL Training for more information.

We raise awareness of current diversity and inclusion issues through guest posts from a range of contributors in our regular newsletters to Costs Lawyers.

We have collaborated with the Solicitors Regulation Authority to produce a guide for Costs Lawyers on The Business Case for Diversity. This provides a framework for understanding how diversity can benefit both employers and employees.


Our policy and guidance to the profession on equality and diversity will be updated as legislative and regulatory requirements are revised, in light of lessons learned and in view of any good practice identified.


For more information about our equality and diversity work, please email [email protected].