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Responsibility

 

Our people

Maitland Chambers is widely recognised as one of the top Commercial Chancery sets at the English Bar. We have occupied first place in that category in Chambers UK Bar Guide for many years.  We believe that we have maintained this reputation for so long because we place responsibility at the core of our business strategy.

The advantage this brings is important to us.  We will continue to attract and retain only the best people, who are committed to working together to deliver first-class legal services in an exciting and engaging environment; we will develop our skills and knowledge beyond legal and commercial expertise; we will ensure that we continually improve our relationships with and service to our clients; and we will continue to support those less fortunate than ourselves to help create opportunity.

Our Core Values

We work very hard to achieve levels of excellence in everything we do.  We have some of the brightest and most capable people in the world, who use their skills and experience to best effect.  We are very proud of the difference they make.  Our core values include:

  • Treating everyone in Chambers with courtesy, honesty and respect. We consistently strive to develop everyone to the full, to be individuals of high regard in their community.  A key feature of our chambers is the open-minded and inclusive environment where everyone – barristers, pupils, staff, clients and others – is respected and valued.
  • Continually developing the range and depth of our own skills, to provide services to our clients and support to our colleagues.
  • Looking beyond our walls, our social responsibility strategy comes under four headings: community, environment, ethical business, and diversity.

Community

Our Community Strategy embraces our charitable and volunteering initiatives and pro-bono (free) legal activity.  Our barristers use their skills and knowledge to help charitable causes and those in need, whether it is through their own individual initiatives or through Chambers-wide events.

We understand the value and spiritual capital that comes from being involved in these - we get a lot out of volunteering.  To encourage further volunteering, staff can take up to one day’s paid absence a year to provide voluntary work in the borough of Camden for an organisation, school or charity which Chambers has agreed to support.

Three themes are central to our Community Strategy:

(1)  access to justice,

(2) access to education and

(3) support in the community.

(1) Access to Justice

We work with the The Bar Pro Bono Unit, a charity that helps to find pro-bono legal assistance from volunteer barristers.  Our barristers regularly give up their time for free. Their commitment to providing high quality legal services to those most in need and least able to pay is an integral part of our contribution to the community.

We are an active supporter and participator in the Chancery Bar Litigant In Person Support Scheme (CLIPS).  CLIPS has the support of the Chancellor and the Judges of the Chancery Division and is also supported by the Personal Support Unit and LawWorks. Our barristers provide ‘on the day’ advice and representation for litigants in person. This provides enormous help to those whose access to justice would be otherwise hampered by their financial means. It is an opportunity for us to use our expertise to promote justice for all.

We also support the London Legal Support Trust (LLST).   The LLST is an independent charity that raises funds for free legal services in London and the South East. From time to time, we provide the LLST with specialist legal advice through Law Centres, Advice Agencies and Citizens Advice Bureau, and we take part in their fundraising events, including the annual London Legal Walk. We also participate in annual events such as the Crisis Square Mile run, the cause of which is to improve the lives of homeless people throughout the UK, with employment advice, education, housing advice, drop-in centres, and health services.

(2) Access to Education

Chambers is a supporter of the Sutton Trust’s “Pathways to Law” programme. The Pathways to Law programme was set up in 2006 by The Sutton Trust and The Legal Education Foundation, to inspire and support academically-able students in year 12 and 13 from non-privileged backgrounds interested in a career in law.  It was also established to widen access to the legal profession. It followed research by the Trust which showed that the top echelons of the profession were drawn from a narrow range of social backgrounds – and law firms were not making full use of the talents of students from non-privileged homes.

We are involved in the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF).  The SMF exists to support high-achieving young people from low income backgrounds into the top universities and professions.  We work with the SMF by providing a holistic programme of support encompassing a short internship to students predicted to achieve ABB or above at A-Level, who are in receipt of free school meals.

(3) Support in the Community

We are delighted to be part of our local and wider community, and to build awareness within Chambers and among our clients about the community in which we work.

We are building links with the Argyle Primary School in the borough of Camden.  The Argyle Primary School is a fully inclusive community school which in 2012 was awarded the Camden Award for Inclusion.  Their pupil population represents 23 ethnic backgrounds and 25 languages.  Our support has been and will continue to be wide-ranging. This year it will be two-fold.  We are again providing the financial means for children to experience a day-trip to a place of interest (many of the children have not travelled beyond their local area); and volunteers among both barristers and staff hope to be able to spend short periods throughout the year supporting the teachers in delivering reading, literacy and numeracy skills to the children.

Recently two of our barristers visited the School to conduct a debating workshop with students in Years 5 and 6 (aged 9 to 11). It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning in which the students were introduced to the subject and judged the performance of our barristers in an example debate (“Chocolate should be free for everyone”) before considering their own motion: “Parents should have to pay for basic equipment and ‘extras’ in schools”. Within smaller groups the students discussed the range of arguments on both sides and were encouraged to think about how to present their views in the most persuasive manner. We then conducted the debate during the final part of the session during which a number of good points were very well made. We were delighted to see the students apply themselves so diligently to the task and then to engage so confidently with the debate.

We are very excited about this ongoing relationship with the Argyle Primary School It is an exciting project and we are very grateful to the School and its governors for giving us this opportunity.

We are delighted to have supported Children in Crisis, by hosting a supper quiz for our barristers and clients. With good food and a great evening’s entertainment, we hope to replicate this model again.

We are also delighted to be able to support Year 10 students from the Orleans Park coeducational secondary school with academy status, located in Twickenham, who visit our Chambers once a year for a day to learn a little about a career as a barrister, and participate in a workshop where we explore with them the roles of both a solicitor and barrister.

Finally, many of our barristers take advantage of the self-employed nature of their work to be trustees of charities of every type, and use their skills and experience to make the world a better place in countless different ways. For example, one of our barristers has sponsored Dulwich Village FC, an under-10, 6-a-side football team by providing funding for a football kit and tracksuits for the children.

Environment

Maitland Chambers is acutely environmentally aware. We regularly explore ways in which we can minimise the impact we have on the environment. By involving our barristers and staff in the development of the policy and by sharing it with our clients and contacts, we aim to promote environmental awareness both within and outside Chambers.

A high volume of paper is traditionally used in barristers' chambers and in other professional firms. By questioning accepted practices we have reduced significantly the amount of paper used, and ensure that the paper we do use has minimal impact on the environment. We do this by minimising paper based information retained on client files, adopting smaller formats for printed materials and printing double sided documents where possible.  We have an ongoing commitment to minimise the volume of waste created by our activities. We recycle all possible waste including paper, cardboard, metal and plastic, shredding and recycling all confidential waste and ensure that hazardous waste is disposed of appropriately. All redundant IT equipment is either donated to local charities or disposed of complying with the WEEE directive and we use non-disposable ware (glasses, china, and silverware) in conference rooms and kitchens.

Public transport, cycling and walking is encouraged wherever possible.  Chambers belongs to and supports the Government’s ‘Green Transport’ initiative and it supports the ‘Cycle to Work’ programme (as part of this it provides changing facilities, including shower cubicles and ironing facilities for our barristers and staff who cycle (or run) to work or take part in sporting activities).  We also encourage the use of video-conferencing and this facility will shortly be available to everyone’s desktop computers.

We work hard to reduce our energy consumption by reminding our people to turn out lights, computers and air conditioning units when leaving in the evening. We have made significant progress in our efforts to reduce our energy consumption. New technology is used to reduce electricity consumption of computers, our staff computers automatically shut down at night and restart early morning, energy efficient light bulbs are used wherever possible, energy efficient heating is used wherever practicable, use of heating is carefully monitored to prevent waste of energy, all Chambers printers and photocopiers go into power-save mode after five minutes of inactivity, and we use filtered tap water in our conference rooms instead of bottled mineral water.

In addition to the above, we also assess the environmental impact of all past, current and future operations and fully integrate these considerations and objectives into our business decisions and communicate this policy to members and staff, and consult with them to ensure that they take an active role in its implementation and review.

Ethical Business

We naturally seek to ensure ethical business practice in all our activities.

Relationship with Suppliers

We treat our suppliers in the way we expect to be treated ourselves.  We also expect them to treat their people the way we treat ours.  In this respect:

  • We support the London Living Wage (LLW), and we pay our on-site suppliers of cleaning staff the LLW.  We also expect all our suppliers based in London to pay their staff the LLW
  • We ask our suppliers to confirm in writing that slavery, servitude or forced or compulsory labour is not taking place in any part of their business or organisation.  From time to time we also arrange visits to our suppliers premises to view first hand their business operations and staff.

Purchasing Policy

We aim to ensure that environmental criteria are taken into account in the procurement of goods and services.  We aim to ensure that the most environmentally friendly products available are used and have introduced Fair-trade and ecologically friendly alternatives wherever possible.

Diversity

Our Equality and Diversity Committee is responsible for leading and monitoring our equality and diversity responsibilities, including the diversity of our workforce and our inclusive work culture.  The work of this Committee has made a simple truth clear to each of us, namely good practice in relation to all matters concerning equality and diversity is no more than best practice to create a successful and contented workforce. For more details click here.