New Zealand Law Society

Navigation menu

IBA survey indicates bullying and sexual harassment not reported

11 October 2018

Preliminary findings from an International Bar Association survey on bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession show that half of all women lawyers have been bullied at work and one in three has been sexually harassed.

The IBA survey is still open and closes on 26 October 2018. However, information on preliminary findings were disclosed at a session at the IBA's Rome conference, the Law Gazette of the Law Society of England and Wales says.

The survey has already received responses from over 5,000 lawyers from 120 jurisdictions.

"Some 25% of all lawyers have been sexually harassed, rising to 36% who have experienced harassment in the last year. Yet in four out of five cases the harassment was never reported, for reasons including fear of career damage and reprisals. Some 43% of respondents have been bullied, but this was not reported in 57% of all cases, with similar reasons given," the Law Gazette says. 

"Where harassment and bullying were reported, legal employers proved generally inept in dealing with it. In around two-thirds of cases the response was ‘insufficient or negligible’, and in three-quarters of cases the perpetrator was not sanctioned. In 62% of cases, bullying conduct contributed to the victim leaving or intending to leave the workplace. For harassment, the equivalent figure was 36%."

The New Zealand Law Society's Legal Workplace Environment Survey from 5 April to 1 May 2018 was completed by 3,516 respondents and showed generally similar results, with 31% of women lawyers reporting they had been sexually harassed.

Last updated on the 11th October 2018