Inclusion and Diversity
We are committed to broadening access and opportunities both at the Bar and within Chambers, and for both barristers and staff. We have an Equality and Diversity Working Group that oversees our Equality Action Plan; we have five Equality and Diversity Officers (barristers) and a Diversity Data Officer (senior staff member).
Internal initiatives include our comprehensive programme of support for barristers on parental leave. This programme commences prior to taking leave and continues until 12 months post return. It is for both fathers and mothers and includes loans and financial support. We have also overhauled our staff recruitment process, including the introduction of application forms and blind shortlisting of applications. We are particularly proud of the number of female KCs we have and the diverse socio-economic background of our barristers. You can view our diversity data survey results 2023 here.
Our current external partnerships include:
Bridging the Bar – this is a flagship programme to increase the equality of access to opportunities in the legal profession across underrepresented groups. We are participating in the mini-pupillage scheme, providing candidates with experience of life in chambers and guidance on how they can enjoy a career at the Bar.
The Sutton Trust – the Trust works to improve access to higher education and employment opportunities for high attaining students form lower income families. We run a summer work experience placement programme for law students.
10,000 Black Interns – through this internship programme, every year we offer one young black student a week’s paid work experience.
Freebar Charter – The Charter aims to guide organisations in implementing best practice with regards to LGBT+ inclusion.
All Bar – this is a new initiative to support those with a disability who are practising at the Bar in England and Wales. We have provided financial support and we have a member of Chambers on the steering group as well as a number of barristers actively involved in setting up and supporting this initiative.
Purple Tuesday – this initiative is to improve the customer experience of disabled customers. We have conducted a web accessibility audit as part of our website review and also completed the Bar Council Accessibility audit. We are fortunate that with a modern building physical accessibility is good.
Our Anti-Racist Statement:
We strive to be an equal opportunities employer and chambers and we are committed to being an anti-racist organisation. We want all our members, staff, pupils and mini-pupils to have the fullest opportunity to prosper and succeed in their chosen field, regardless of race or ethnicity.
We have had regard to the Bar Standards Board Anti-Racist Statement of November 2020:
- We are formulating our approach to a race equality audit that engages with both members and staff from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups.
- We monitor and analyse ethnicity data from the the recruitment process for all pupils, mini-pupils and staff members and we undertake work opportunities monitoring for members and pupils.
- We participate in a range of initiatives aimed at improving access to the Bar for those faced with substantial obstacles such as race. These include the Bridging the Bar’s flagship pupillage scheme, the Sutton Trust summer programme, and 10,000 Black Interns work experience programme.
- All our staff undertake equality, diversity and inclusion training, all those involved in recruitment undertake fair recruitment training, and we regularly offer equality, diversity and inclusion training to all our members. We are formulating a specific anti-racist training strategy for all barristers and staff.
This anti-racist statement has been reviewed by our Management Board and our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officers. The actions set out in this statement are incorporated into our annual Equality Action Plan.
We start our environmental journey from the top down. We use solar panels and have a green roof on our BREEAM 'excellent' rated building in London. We have adjusted our heating and lighting to as short an operating time as possible and we use a follow me print solution to reduce waste. All waste, which includes IT related items, paper and day to day waste is recycled. On a smaller scale we give people the option of recycling batteries, paper and toner cartridges.
We encourage our staff and barristers to use public transport or walk or cycle to work – we have bike storage facilities, shower facilities and for staff we participate in a cycle to work scheme and provide travel loans. Our staff team have all received environmental awareness training.
We are a member of the Bar Substantiality Network, and have committed to the Bar Renewables Pledge. In 2021 we signed up to the Greener Litigation Pledge, an initiative to reduce the environmental impact of dispute resolution. In signing the Pledge, we commit to take active steps to reduce, with a view to minimising, the environmental impact of dispute resolution in England and Wales. Our aim is for 90% of all barristers and staff to be working electronically/paperless by the end of 2022.
We have also signed up to Climate Perks. This offers our staff paid ‘journey days’ to travel by train, coach or boat instead of flying.
We are an accredited London Living Wage employer. All our staff and on-site contract staff are paid the London Living Wage.
All staff have had training on modern slavery, bribery, anti-modern laundering, fraud and whistleblowing. We have published a Modern Slavery Statement and have introduced a Supplier Code of Conduct covering slavery, human rights, equal opportunities, freedom of association, environment and wages.
View our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement here
Health and Wellbeing
As a Chambers we value the good physical and mental health of our barristers and staff. We have been awarded by the Bar Council a Certificate of Recognition for our innovation and invaluable contribution to the wellbeing initiative in the profession.
We have our own Employee Assistance Programme that provides 24-hour support for barristers, staff and their families on a range of health, financial and social matters.
Legal Charities and Assistance
Our Chambers and members support a range of charities that have legal focus. We are a member of Justice, an independent law reform and human rights charity working to improve the justice system – criminal, civil and administrative – in the United Kingdom.
We have a long-standing relationship with the Free Representation Unit (FRU), a charity that charity that provides legal advice, case preparation and advocacy in employment, social security, and some criminal injury compensation tribunal cases. A number of our members are involved with FRU either as trustees or on its Management Boar and we make a regular annual donation to support its work.
We are also keen supporters of the annual London Legal Walk, a charitable walk that raises funds for the London Legal Support Trust. We were the first Chambers team to complete the walk in 2005!
A number of our members also undertake a range of pro bono work, including work for Advocate, a charity that finds free legal assistance form volunteer barristers.