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Responsibility

We take social responsibility seriously – not only is it a way of contributing to the community, but also because volunteering improves wellbeing and work satisfaction. Maitland Chambers has led the way in promoting CSR at the Bar: our members have given seminars and written articles advising others on how to create and promote CSR policies and programmes, and we are constantly looking for new ways in which the Bar can contribute.

Our social responsibility strategy covers five key areas:

  • Community
  • Environment
  • Ethical Business
  • Diversity
  • Wellbeing

Community

Our Community strategy encompasses the majority of our charitable and volunteering initiatives, and focuses on two main areas:

  • Access to Justice
  • Support in the Community

Access to Justice

In our day to day work we are privileged to provide legal advice and representation to those able to afford it.  However, we recognise that many people struggle to obtain such legal assistance. Maitland Chambers, and its individual Members, work regularly to support schemes offering assistance to those in need, whether by fundraising or by the provision of pro bono services.  In particular, we are involved with:

Advocate: Many of our barristers undertake instructions from Advocate (previously the Bar Pro Bono Unit), taking on cases and offering advice and representation for free. Cases are pre-analysed by Advocate so that members can easily identify those which are within their specialism and experience.

CLIPS: Members of Maitland Chambers participate in the Chancery Bar Litigant in Person Support Scheme, which is a highly successful scheme run by the Chancery Bar Association to provide “on the day” legal advice and representation for litigants in person at the Chancery Applications Court.

Pro Bono Connect: Maitland Chambers is part of this scheme which is aimed at establishing a network of chambers and solicitor firms willing to work together on pro bono cases in civil matters. Building on existing structures such as Advocate, it enables any barrister from participating chambers (including Maitland Chambers) to request assistance on a pro bono case from a participating solicitor (and vice versa).

London Legal Support Trust: Maitland Chambers supports this independent charity through its fundraising events, including the annual London Legal Walk. The LLST raises funds for free legal services in London and the South East.

Other Pro Bono Advice: Pro Bono advocacy and advice is also provided by our members through solicitors’ firms, local law centres, the Free Representation Unit, and in the course of other roles such as trusteeships.

Support in the Community

Maitland Chambers is extremely proud of its work in the local and wider community.

We are particularly proud of the relationship we have built up 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.  It has a highly diverse pupil population, and many of the children have not travelled beyond their local area.

Our support is wide ranging:

-          Members of Maitland fund an annual day trip for the children to such locations as Warwick Castle, or Hampton Court, broadening their educational experience. On occasion, members of staff have accompanied them on this trip.

-          For the past few years several members of staff have provided further support by visiting the school on a weekly basis, listening to children reading (both in groups and on a one to one basis), and working with them on comprehension exercises.

-          In recent years, Maitland Chambers has hosted debating sessions for the Year 6 students (aged 10 to 11).  The subject of the debate is chosen by the Argyle Primary School to link in with work undertaken at school, and previous topics have included whether it was better for children to have been evacuated from London during the Blitz, whether sweets should be banned, and whether plastic should be banned. Members of chambers volunteer to run the sessions, during which the children are split into groups, given a “side” and assisted to identify and develop their arguments. The students then present their arguments for and against the motion, and the students vote on which they consider to be the winning side.

At Maitland Chambers we believe that charitable donations are a matter for individuals rather than chambers as an entity.  That does not prevent our members and staff choosing regularly to support, through Chambers led initiatives, charities such as: Crisis, through the Crisis Square Mile Run; The Argyle Primary School (see above); The London Legal Support Trust (see above); and Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund.

Members of Maitland Chambers are, given their areas of work, ideally placed to take on the role of charitable trustees and school governors, and many of our Members do so, using their skills and experience for the benefit of others.

Members also take advantage of the self-employed nature of the work and their skills and experiences to participate in a wide range of other charitable or community initiatives, recently including:

-          The provision of seminars for young Ukranian lawyers.

-          Participation in UpRising’s “Fastlaners” scheme, by acting as a mentor. UpRising is a national youth leadership development organisation which runs an employability and personal development programme called Fastlaners, designed to help young people find employment.

-          Participation in Chance UK’s mentoring scheme. Chance UK is an award-winning early intervention children’s charity that organises mentoring for 5-11 year olds with challenging behaviour.

-          Attending schools to give talks and presentations about life at the Bar and English law.

-          The sponsorship and coaching by one of our QC’s of Dulwich Village FC, an under-11, 9-a-side football team, including the funding of football kit and tracksuits.

Finally, many of our Members are, or have been, leaders of various professional associations and committees, and use their roles to promote social responsibility and community work within those organisations also.

Environment

Maitland Chambers is committed to reducing its impact on the environment.

Recycling: We have recycling facilities in all Members’ rooms and in communal areas and promote the recycling of as much waste as possible including paper, cardboard, metal and plastic.  Confidential waste is shredded and recycled.  Redundant IT equipment is either donated to local charities or disposed of responsibly. Batteries are collected in a recycling box, and battery packs from laptops are recycled.

Resources: We use non-disposable crockery and cutlery in our conference rooms and kitchens.  The water provided in our conference rooms is filtered tap water rather than bottled mineral water, and at the water points around Chambers we have switched from plastic to paper cups for those times when a reusable cup is not available.

Traditionally, barristers’ chambers use a high volume of paper. We encourage Members and staff to reduce their paper consumption by minimising paper-based information retained on client files, adopting smaller formats for printed materials, printing double sided documents where practicable, and, of course, implementing paperless working where appropriate. We recently hosted an internal seminar on the subject of paperless working, which was well attended, and which has generated substantial interest.

We work hard to reduce our energy consumption. Members and staff are reminded to turn off lights, computers and air conditioning units when leaving in the evening, and our staff computers automatically shut down at night. Energy efficient light bulbs and heating are used wherever possible and all Chambers’ printers and photocopiers are programmed to go into power-save mode after five minutes of inactivity.

Transport: The use of public transport, cycling, and walking (or, indeed, running) is encouraged.  Maitland Chambers belongs to the Government’s Cycle to Work programme.  We provide washing and changing facilities, including ironing facilities, for those of our members and staff who cycle or run to work.

Ethical Business

Maitland Chambers believes that conducting business ethically is a core part of its commitment to treating everyone with respect.

Living Wage: All our staff are paid at least the London Living Wage. We also pay our on-site suppliers of cleaning staff the London Living Wage, and we ask all our suppliers to confirm that they pay their staff the London Living Wage (or the Living Wage, as appropriate).

Anti-Slavery: We also ask all 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.

Fairtrade and Sustainable Products: We have introduced, and continue to introduce, Fairtrade and/or sustainable products wherever practicable.

Diversity

At Maitland Chambers we are committed to promoting and supporting diversity in the profession and in the legal system as a whole.  We consider that one of the best ways to do this is by supporting social mobility initiatives, which we do enthusiastically. The focus of our support is on two schemes:

The Sutton Trust’s Pathways to Law Programme: Pathways to Law is a programme sponsored by the Sutton Trust and supported by universities, law firms and chambers. It aims to widen access to the legal profession by giving students in their last years at school, in particular disadvantaged students, experience of studying law, work experience and mentoring. Thirteen universities currently offer Pathways to Law programmes. These consist of a two-year course for students in Years 12-13, and a “taster” programme for students in Years 10-11. Maitland Chambers works with Oxford University on this programme.  In addition to an annual donation, Maitland Chambers:

  • Supports the Mock Trial which forms part of the Taster Programme.  One Saturday in spring, barristers from Maitland Chambers join staff and students in Oxford in putting together a series of lectures and training sessions at the end of which the students conduct a mock trial. The students take on all roles, including judge, counsel and witnesses, and prepare and deliver speeches, examination-in-chief and cross-examination.
  • Members of Maitland Chambers attend the launch day for the Year 12 cohort as they start the programme, and the graduation day for the Year 13 cohort, and give talks or take questions about entry into the legal profession.
  • Maitland Chambers offers work experience placements to those who give the best performance in the Mock Trial, giving a further insight into what life at the Commercial Chancery Bar is like.

Bar Placement Scheme: Maitland Chambers supports this scheme, run in conjunction with Pathways to Law and the Social Mobility Foundation, by hosting two students for two days in chambers each year. We put on a range of activities for the students during their time with us, including shadowing barristers, court visits, and advocacy training workshops.

In addition, individual members participate in a range of other social mobility initiatives and Maitland Chambers hosted highly successful “Women at the Commercial Chancery Bar” evenings for university students in 2020 and 2018, involving various talks/panel sessions by members of Chambers and a cross-examination workshop.

Wellbeing

Maitland Chambers recognises that higher levels of wellbeing reflect not only on our personal lives but also on our professional lives. We take the wellbeing of our Members and staff very seriously and subscribe to AXA/PPP’s “Health at Hand” scheme, and their “Be Supported” helpline. We have also arranged internal seminars on the subject of wellbeing and continue to seek ways to further develop our awareness and activities in this area.

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Responsibility

"Maitland’s success with wellbeing can be measured by their members’ and employees’ willingness to raise wellbeing concerns and their management team’s increasing confidence in supporting their members. Their experience with their Employee Assistance Programme – open to members and employees alike - should encourage others to take a similar approach. It is good to see Maitland recognise too the contribution other initiatives make to their members’ wellbeing, including chambers based social, sporting and charitable events".

The Bar Council, November 2017

Maitland wellbeing certificate