Multilaw Harassment Policy 


Multilaw conferences and events provide unrivalled professional development and network-building opportunities for members of the network. Delegates should maintain the highest levels of propriety and behaviour the same high standards of behaviour that are required of them as members of their own firms when attending Multilaw conferences or events. This includes adhering to any relevant code of conduct of the firm that they are representing, or of their regulating body.

Multilaw values the participation of every delegate and wants all attendees to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, all conference attendees are expected to show respect and courtesy to other attendees, Multilaw staff and those involved with hosting the events throughout the conference and at all conference events, receptions, and parties, whether officially organised by the Multilaw or others.

Multilaw is committed to providing a harassment-free conference and event experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, physical appearance, age, race, colour or nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, marital or civil partnership or other personal attributes. With this in mind, Multilaw has issued this Harassment Policy, and expects all participants at Multilaw conferences and events to adhere to its terms. The Board has established a Conduct Committee, and has delegated to it the ongoing role of managing and maintaining this Harassment Policy, and ensuring adherence to it.

What is harassment?

Harassment is unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

Harassment can take a number of forms and can include (but is not limited to):

  • Offensive, humiliating, intimidating or degrading verbal comments or behaviour related to gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, race, colour or nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, marital or civil partnership. Please bear in mind that your comments may be offensive to someone, even if that person does not have that characteristic, and that your comments may be offensive, even if this was not the intended purpose;
  • Sexual or offensive images in public spaces;
  • Bullying or attempted bullying;
  • Overt or covert stalking, following, filming, photographing or recording a person, sustained disruption of talks or other events;
  • Filming, photographing or recording a person, after it has been made clear that such activities are unwelcome;
  • Offensive, humiliating or degrading verbal comments or behaviour of a sexual nature, including in relation to a person’s dress or appearance;
  • Inappropriate and unwanted physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention or advances which could include touching, pinching, pushing, grabbing or leering;
  • Continued suggestion of social activity or continued contact after it has been made clear that such suggestions are unwelcome;
  • Sexist, racist, homophobic and other exclusionary or offensive jokes and expletives, or mocking or belittling someone, for example, due to a disability; and
  • Stereotypical remarks due to someone’s race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

In its most serious form, harassment includes rape and other forms of sexual assault.

Standards of behaviour

All delegates, guests, attendees, speakers and staff at any Multilaw conference or event will be expected to conform to this Harassment Policy, and accordingly should:

  • be considerate to others and think about the effect that words and actions could have on others – a single incident could constitute harassment;
  • behave professionally at all times. All communications should be appropriate for a professional audience, including people of many different cultures, backgrounds, opinions and personal attributes;
  • not insult or disparage other attendees;
  • refrain from engaging in topics that might be offensive to others;
  • refrain from discriminatory, sexual or exclusionary jokes, language, imagery or behaviour;
  • refrain from making false accusations of harassment against others; and
  • be careful in their choice of words and be aware of how their actions may be perceived by others (remembering that words and behaviours might be construed differently dependent on culture).

Multilaw staff and venue staff should be treated with the same respect and in accordance with the same principles as would apply to the treatment of colleagues, members of staff, and/or clients of the firms or organisations represented by attendees.

In the event of an incident

It is incumbent on everyone to play their part in helping to ensure compliance with this Harassment Policy at all times.

If any individual witnesses or experiences any behaviour by another attendee at a Multilaw conference or event that they consider may amount to a breach of this Harassment Policy, they are encouraged to speak directly to the harasser (if they feel comfortable doing so) and ask that individual to moderate or change their behaviour, and/or to report the matter as soon as possible (either orally or by email) to a member of the Conduct Committee. Reports to a member of the Conduct Committee must be treated with the utmost confidence by all concerned.

Nothing in this policy is intended to prevent an individual from taking such steps as are necessary to protect their safety and/or to report an offence to the relevant regulator or law enforcement agency. If anyone feels that their own safety, or the safety of another, is at risk, they should not hesitate to contact local law enforcement.

Any attendee asked to moderate or change any behaviour regarded by another as amounting to harassment is expected to acknowledge the request, and to comply immediately. Any failure to do so, any escalation in offensive behaviour or any retaliation against the person requesting the moderation/change in behaviour will generally be regarded as a further breach of this Harassment Policy.

Procedure following a complaint

When a report has been made to a member of the Conduct Committee, the Conduct Committee shall convene as soon as possible (either in person or by phone and/or email, as appropriate) to discuss the complaint, and to consider its position.

    NB In the event that the complaint relates to the behaviour of a member of the Conduct Committee, that individual shall be required to recuse himself/herself from all deliberations relating to that complaint, and the matter shall be considered by the remaining members of the Conduct Committee in his/her absence.

The Conduct Committee shall have absolute discretion as to how it chooses to conduct its business, which shall be conducted at all times in the strictest confidence possible, having regard to the need for reasonable investigation into any allegations made.

If the Conduct Committee is required to submit any report of its activities to the Board, such reports shall, where possible, maintain anonymity of all complainants and alleged perpetrators to as great an extent as is practicable. For the avoidance of doubt, it shall not constitute a breach of such requirement for anonymity if, by virtue of information which is required to be provided, the identity of an individual is capable of being deduced. It is acknowledged that the receipt or discussion of any report from the Conduct Committee should be dealt with by the Board as confidential business (and any observers at a Board meeting will therefore be asked to leave the room).

    NB In the event that the report includes matters relating to the behaviour of a member of the Board, that individual shall not be provided with a copy of the report to the Board, and further shall be required to recuse himself/herself from the Board meeting for the relevant agenda item.

In the event that the Conduct Committee shall find, on a balance of probabilities, that an individual has breached this Harassment Policy, it shall have full and unfettered discretion to determine the appropriate sanction applicable to the individual. It shall notify the individual of its decision, and any sanction imposed, as soon as possible by email sent to the individual’s normal business email address, and (if practicable) shall also inform the individual in person. The email shall include details of the composition of the Conduct Committee who considered the matter, and the individual’s rights of appeal.


In the event that an individual is unhappy with the decision and/or sanction imposed by the Conduct Committee, the individual shall be entitled to appeal to the Former Chairs Committee for a re-consideration. Notice of appeal must be submitted in writing (within 48 hours of the notification of the Conduct Committee’s decision being appealed) by sending an email to the following address: [email protected] indicating whether the appeal is against the decision itself and/or against the sanction imposed, and setting out brief details of the grounds of appeal.

For the avoidance of doubt, submission of an appeal does not automatically suspend the imposition of any sanction decided upon by the Conduct Committee, but the Former Chairs Committee may, in its absolute discretion, agree to suspend the imposition of a sanction pending its consideration of the appeal if it considers such suspension fair and reasonable in all the circumstances, either of its own motion or if so requested by the appellant.

The Former Chairs Committee shall have absolute discretion as to how it chooses to manage the appeal process, including whether or not to hear or consider any fresh evidence. In the event of an appeal against the sanction, it shall be open to the Former Chairs Committee to impose any sanction it thinks fit in its full and unfettered discretion, even if the sanction is considered by the individual to be more severe than the sanction originally imposed by the Conduct Committee.

Once the Former Chairs Committee has reached its conclusions, it shall notify the individual of its decision (including notification of any different sanction being imposed) as soon as possible, by email sent to the individual’s normal business email address. There shall be no further right of appeal against the decision of the Former Chairs Committee, whose decision shall be final.


The Conduct Committee and/or the Former Chairs Committee shall have absolute discretion to impose such sanction on the individual as they consider reasonable and appropriate in all the circumstances, including but not limited to:

  • Warning the individual to cease his or her unacceptable behaviour;
  • Requiring that the individual avoid any interaction with, and/or physical proximity to, the complainant or such other person(s) as may be specified for the remainder of the conference or event;
  • Not allowing a speaker or guest who has violated this Harassment Policy to participate (or participate further) at the conference or event or at future conferences or events;
  • Requiring that the individual immediately leaves the conference or event and not return (with or without a refund);
  • Banning the individual from future conferences or events (either indefinitely or for a specified time period);
  • Publishing an account of the harassment and calling for the resignation of the individual from any Multilaw responsibilities; and
  • Informing an attendee’s law firm, employer or any relevant regulatory or law enforcement body of any allegation of harassment.

For the avoidance of doubt, sanctions relate solely to the individual concerned. Neither the Conduct Committee nor the Former Chairs Committee shall have any ability by virtue of this Harassment Policy, to impose a sanction on a member firm or organisation.

The Conduct Committee

The Conduct Committee shall comprise:

  • The Executive Director of Multilaw
  • The Chair of Multilaw
  • Up to 2 further Board members, who shall be co-opted onto the Committee as and when required on a matter-by-matter basis.

Details of the 2 permanent members of the Conduct Committee can be found on the Mulilaw website here.