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Chambers Social Responsibility

Overview

As members of chambers are self-employed individuals, many charitable and other good causes are supported on an individual rather than a collective basis. However this page seeks to highlight some of the areas where there is significant involvement from members of chambers and members of staff.

Areas which have drawn particularly strong support from chambers over the years have been the promotion of social mobility in the legal profession, and free (pro bono) representation of litigants.

Social Mobility Foundation

The Social Mobility Foundation

exists to support high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds into the top universities and professions. We do this by providing a holistic programme of support encompassing internships, mentoring, university application support and skills development to students predicted to achieve ABB or above at A-Level who have been eligible for Free School Meals

The Foundation provides support for students wishing to consider careers in different areas. The Bar hosts a week long summer placement scheme which matches aspiring legal students to a set of chambers. Each year members of chambers host one or more students in chambers during the Bar’s summer scheme.

Young Persons Project

Each year a group of members of chambers supports the Young Persons Project which is an outreach project run by students from Van Mildert College at Durham University. The beneficiaries are local children in the North East from less privileged backgrounds. The aim is to encourage those children to consider higher education as an achievable and attractive aim. It works primarily through confidence building exercises which focus on public speaking, creativity, leadership and teamwork. Examples include a Dragons Den day, a Murder Mystery Night, a trip to an outdoor activity centre, a formal dinner and a silent disco.

Bar Pro Bono Unit

The Bar Pro Bono Unit is a charity which helps to find pro bono (free) legal assistance from volunteer barristers. The assistance can cover advice and/or representation at mediation or hearings. Pro bono assistance is only available to those who cannot afford to pay and who cannot obtain public funding.

Through voluntary contributions from members, Chambers has agreed to make a significant annual contribution to the funding of the Unit.

Additionally, on an individual basis, members of chambers have provided legal assistance through the Unit. Recent examples have included:

Personal Insolvency Litigation Advice and Representation Scheme (PILARS)

PILARS was founded in June 2006 to pair up barristers specialising in insolvency work with unrepresented litigants facing creditors' petitions in the High Court. Since 2006 the service has expanded to providing training to various front-line pro bono organisations and to providing a "helpline" for those organisations to seek advice from specialist counsel. The Scheme is administered by the Bar pro Bono Unit. Helen Evans of chambers was a founder member of the Scheme and is involved in the management committee. 

Pro Bono Representation at Inquests

David Turner QC has acted in two inquests for the families of service personnel killed in Afghanistan. He is currently acting for the widow of a soldier who died after a training incident, which has been set down for a two week main hearing in early 2014.

Walking With the Wounded

Walking With The Wounded is a UK based charity which:

funds both the re-training and re-education of wounded servicemen and women with the aim of helping them find long term employment after they have left the Armed Forces.”

 The Charity stages extreme expeditions and two recent television programmes have charted

  • the record breaking progress of injured servicemen to the North Pole (accompanied for the first few days by HRH Prince Harry, who is the Charity’s Patron);
  • the (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to climb Everest last year. 

In the last 6 weeks two of the team successfully scaled  Mt Denali in Alaska.  The two summiteers have two operational arms between them.

In December the team is taking part in a race to the South Pole.  It is hoped that HRH Prince Harry will be a member of that expedition.

In the meantime, the match ball for the deciding Lion’s Test against the Wallabies is being carried from Melbourne to Sydney by a team of cyclists including ex British & Irish Lions (Winterbottom, Teague, Utlley, Howe) and former Australian players (Poedevin, Waught, Heath, Cockbain) with the aim of raising £125,000 for the charity.

Chambers is proud to be hosting a presentation attended by founders of the Charity and a number of the team members who have taken part in or will be taking part in the expeditions. The presentation takes place on 18 September 2013 in Inner Temple Hall.