Chambers Social Responsibility
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.
Equality & Diversity
We believe that great barristers, great clerks and great staff members can come from all walks of life. We also believe that people perform at their best when they get the support they need.
We seek to implement those values in our working lives in chambers. We respect one another. We strive, wherever we can, to make chambers a positive, inclusive and friendly place. We aim to provide mutual support to help each other regardless of background, age, gender, race, ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity.
We know that the Commercial Bar has a great deal of ground to cover in relation to equality and diversity. We seek to make up that ground wherever we can. We do so by recognising that as different individuals in chambers we need different types of support. Our goal is always to adapt and to find new ways to provide that support; and we are always open to being shown more.
Members receive annual training on Equality and Diversity. An Equality and Diversity Committee is responsible for relevant matters in chambers and for introducing new initiatives: for instance chanbers is currently investigating ways of supporting members who work away from chambers.
Click here to view our Equality & Diversity Policy.
The Mindful Business Charter
4 New Square has signed the Mindful Business Charter, joining a wide range of businesses and law firms in a collective commitment to address the avoidable stresses in our working practices to promote healthier and more effective ways of working.
4 New Square is the first set of barristers’ chambers to sign up to the Charter.
The Charter, originally launched by Barclays and law firms Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, brings organisations’ in-house legal teams and their legal services providers together to reach a shared agenda for mental health wellbeing.
The Mindful Business Charter aims to promote a culture of openness about mental wellbeing, ensure responsible business is included as an area of assessment during significant procurement processes and drive forward the actions and necessary change in support of the principles of the Charter.
Wellbeing at the Bar
4 New Square is recognised for its work in promoting the wellbeing of its employees, pupils and barristers, by being one of the first sets of chambers to be awarded a Wellbeing at the Bar Certificate of Recognition. The certificate was presented by the Chairman of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, at the 2017 Bar Conference on Saturday 4 November.
Chambers subscribes to an Employee Assistance Programme (“EAP”) provided by Health Assured. The EAP is available to be used by both members of chambers and staff.
The EAP service provides up to 6 sessions of face-to-face or telephone counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy per person, per year. In addition there are a number of other support services included in the programme.
Chambers arranges a programme of wellbeing events, including talks from medical practitioners, mental health training, mindfulness meditation and social events.
The London Living Wage
4 New Square is an accredited London Living Wage employer and we only engage with on-site suppliers who pay their staff the London Living Wage.
Bridging The Bar
We are a Founding Partner of the Bridging The Bar charity which was set up to help increase diversity at the bar. ‘At Bridging the Bar we believe that for any organisation to reach its full potential, it must reflect the diverse society that we live in. Whilst we recognise that a lot of good work has been done to create greater opportunities at the Bar, there is still a need to incentivise – and support – the organisations, and individuals doing this important work in isolation and the students from non-traditional backgrounds aspiring to a career at the Bar.
We also support BTB’s flagship mini-pupillage access programme which fast tracks candidates into a mini pupillage with us as well as many other sets. BTB mini-pupils will get hands-on experience of life in chambers, observing cases on key issues and getting insight and guidance from practicing barristers on how to cultivate their careers.
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 Council Placement Scheme
Each summer, 4 New Square hosts a student in chambers for a week, as part of the Bar Council’s placement scheme. One such student, Aisha, wrote about her time with barrister Stephen Innes: her article won a prize and appears on the Bar Council’s website.
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.
Free Representation Unit (FRU)
Pro Bono Representation at Inquests
David Turner QC has acted in several inquests for the families of service personnel killed in Afghanistan. He also acted for the widow of a soldier who died after a training incident in the Brecon Beacons.
Personal Insolvency Litigation Advice and Representation Scheme (PILARS) and the CLIPS scheme.
PILARS was founded in June 2006 to pair up barristers specialising in insolvency work with unrepresented litigants facing creditors’ petitions in the High Court. Helen Evans of chambers was a founder member of the Scheme. The scheme now forms part of the Chancery Bar Association’s CLIPS scheme. Helen Evans is a member of the Chancery Bar Association Pro Bono committee, which administers that scheme, and also volunteers to assist litigants in the Chancery Applications Court.
Cystic Fibrosis Trust
The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is a charity which is working towards a brighter future for all those with cystic fibrosis, the UK’s most common inherited fatal disease, by funding cutting-edge research and driving up standards of care. They also support people with the condition and their loved ones.
KidsOut is a charity which aims to bring fun and happiness to the lives of disadvantaged children across the UK. Whether they have escaped domestic violence or live daily in poverty, KidsOut provides these children with memories to cherish.
- Recycling bins are given to all members of chambers and staff
- Our IT department regularly collect old electronic items for recycling
- Chambers provide glasses and mugs rather than disposable cups and we have our own KeepCups to encourage members and staff not to use disposable coffee cups outside of chambers
- Name badges are collected and re-used after marketing events
Paper waste reduction
- Members of Chambers are given paperless working training
- All printers are set to print in black and white, double sided in order to lengthen the life of toner cartridges and reduce paper waste
- Documents are only printed for chambers’ meetings when specifically requested
- Handouts are sent electronically to clients attending our seminar events
- Chambers’ lights are now all energy efficient LEDs.