Headline, November 11 2020/ ''' '' BLACK BARRISTERS BLUSH '' ''' : ENGLAND



NEARLY 100 YEARS AFTER THE FIRST WOMEN BECAME Barristers in 1922, women account for just about 38 percent of the profession and 16 percent of the most senior barristers, known as Queen's Counsel.

And Black barristers account for just about 3.2 percent of all barristers and 1.1 percent of the most senior ones.

It was looking like a typical day at the office for Alexandra Wilson as she arrived at a London courthouse ready to defend someone accused of theft.

She tied her hair into a neat knot, shrugged on her black robe and pulled on a white horsehair wig - the official garb of Britain's barristers, the lawyers who argue most cases in court.

But since she was in the courtroom, things went off script. In a patronizing exchange that was rude at best and hostile at worst, the prosecutor, an elder white man, scoffed at Ms. Wilson, chided her for speaking with her client and tutted at her reports for details on court documents.

Unfortunately, it was an all too typical day for Ms. Wilson in a profession where, as a young Black woman, she often finds herself fighting for recognition and respect.

''It certainly does happen to a lot of Black barrister,'' she said after the encounter. ''My ability is underestimated, quite a lot.''

In September, in an incident that made headlines in Britain - and brought a public apology from the acting head of the country's court system - Ms. Wilson was shouted at for entering the court to defend her client, one of the three times that day she was assumed to be a defendant.

Ms. Wilson wrote about the encounter in a Twitter thread that soon went viral and said that that the incident underscored broader issues in the justice system.

''For me, it was a real insight that Black people are being criminalized from when they are first laid eyes on,'' she said. ''How can I reassure my clients that it's a fair system are already making their mind up from a Black person that you are likely to be a criminal?''

That is part of her drive to be here. ''I thought the best way to make a difference was to be a part of the system that is so problematic and to make change from the inside,'' she said. ''It's one thing calling out all the problems, but we need to actually think. ''How are we going to solve this?''

As the 25-year-old daughter of Black Caribbean father and white British mother from working-class roots, she is still a rarity in the cavernous halls of England's courts.

Her unabashed observations about race and class have drawn a following of thousands on Twitter, inspired a book about her experiences and driven her to to found a community for Black women in the legal profession. Just over a year into her career, she's only getting started.

A tweet she posted a few months before becoming a practising barrister in early 2019 that included a photo of her in her official attire and the note ''THIS IS what a barrister looks like'' was the first to draw attention.

The most recent statistics on diversify among Britain's barristers, from the Br Standards Board, the profession's regulating body in England and Wales are grim.

A 2018 report from the Bar Standards Board noted that Black prospective barristers encounter significantly higher barriers to entering the profession than their white peers and are less likely be taken as trainees.

Yet Black people are overrepresented in the prison population, data from the Justice Ministry shows, with Black people making up about 12 percent of the prison population but just 3 percent of the total population in England and Wales.

The result, Ms. Wilson noted, is criminal courtrooms where those in positions of authority are overwhelmingly white and defendants are disproportionately Black.

''If you've got an overrepresentation of Black people on the wrong side law, being pushed through the system,'' she said, ''and they don't see any Black people representing them, how can they trust us?''

She specialized in criminal and family law practice in the hopes of maximizing the impact she can make, and is a founding member of One-Case at a time, an initiative to fund and provide legal representation for people of color.

''We can't just fool ourselves into thinking that everyone has the exact same life chances and everyone is on a level playing field, because they are not,'' she said.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Justice Systems and the state of the world continues. The World Students Society thanks author Megan Specia.

With respectful dedication to Mankind, the Justice System the World over, Leaders, Law Framers, Students, Professors and Teachers. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 : . 

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Good Night and God Bless

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