Mark Henderson shortlisted as Disability/ Neurodiversity Bar Champion of the Year in the inaugural Legal 500 ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Awards 2024

Doughty Street Chambers is delighted to announce that Mark Henderson is a finalist in the inaugural Legal 500 ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Awards 2024 for his work to promote and campaign for disability rights and access across the profession and justice system, in chambers, and in wider society, including intersectional issues.

The Legal 500 ESG UK awards celebrate the very best ESG initiatives across the UK legal market in private practice, in-house, and at the Bar. The award for Disability/Neurodiversity Bar Champion of the Year acknowledges “truly exceptional individual contributions to improving disability/neurodiversity inclusion of all forms – both visible and invisible – at the Bar”. Shortlisted finalists demonstrate leadership of key initiatives to boost representation of disabled/neurodiverse lawyers within Chambers and the Bar more broadly. 

Mark specialises in media, public and human rights law. His work includes leading on disability issues while acting on behalf of over 100 bereaved and survivor core participants in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. He is a former Legal Aid Barrister of the Year. Since returning to practice as a disabled barrister and wheelchair user, Mark has dealt with various access challenges in the profession and the courts. 

A member of the Bar Council’s Disability Panel since 2021, Mark was appointed its new Chair this year. He has been the Panel’s representative on the RCJ Accessibility Project Board which brings together the Ministry of Justice, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, the Judicial Office, and professional and lay court user groups to improve the accessibility of the Royal Courts of Justice for litigants, lawyers, and the public. Mark is also a member of the Bar Council’s Equality, Diversity and Social Mobility Committee. 

Prior to his appointment as Chair of the Bar Council’s Panel, Mark was also a member of the Bar Standards Board Disability Task Force, which advised on how regulation could improve access and routes into the Bar and make it a more disability aware and inclusive profession. 

Within chambers, Mark has spear-headed work to improve the accessibility of chambers, chairing Doughty Street’s Disability Working Group since its inception. The Group has overseen chambers’ work to improve access, to produce and implement new reasonable adjustment policies including a dedicated policy for pupils, and to advance certification standards from ‘Disability Confident Committed’ to ‘Disability Confident Employer’, making Doughty Street Chambers one of the first chambers at the Bar to achieve this standard. Mark continues to lead on next steps towards chambers becoming a ‘Disability Confident Leader’ this year.

Beyond the profession, Mark was elected in 2020 to the Board of the Spinal Injuries Association, the national organisation representing over 50,000 people living with Spinal Cord Injury. He served as Senior Vice Chair from 2021-2023 overseeing its services, advocacy, and campaigning on the challenges of living with paralysis. He has campaigned on the rights of disabled people in blocks of flats to an evacuation plan in case of fire, following the Grenfell Tower fire. His intersectional work includes being an Ambassador for ParaPride, the empowerment charity that advocates for the visibility, education, and awareness of the LGBTQ+ disabled community.

Read more in Mark’s Bar Council blog on the Disability Confident scheme here.

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