At Maitland Chambers we are committed to promoting and supporting diversity in the profession and in the legal system as a whole.
In 2020, Maitland Chambers launched a mentoring scheme for aspiring commercial/chancery barristers from ethnic minority backgrounds, particularly encouraging applications from black candidates, as a positive action initiative to address underrepresentation in these practice areas. The scheme was set up with the aim of informing, guiding and encouraging candidates so that they can approach pupillage applications with a realistic idea of what to expect and the confidence to navigate the processes. Almost thirty members of Chambers of all seniorities have been involved in delivering the scheme, working in teams to provide each candidate selected with tailored feedback on both written applications and interview technique.
As well as our own mentoring scheme, we consider that one of the best ways to promote diversity 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 and, in addition to an annual donation, Maitland Chambers supports this by:
- Supporting the Mock Trial which forms part of the Taster Programme in which 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 the Bar Placement Scheme, run in conjunction with Pathways to Law and the Social Mobility Foundation, by hosting two students for a week 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.
We are proud sponsors of Cambridge Law Faculty's new Access and Widening Participation Scheme. We help the Faculty as it seeks to enhance the access of the brightest students, irrespective of background, to its outstanding programmes of legal study and, more broadly, to the legal profession.
Several Members of Maitland Chambers participate in the Chancery Bar Association’s flagship “Step into Law and MORE” scheme. In partnership with Achievement for All, this programme connects groups of barristers with groups of schoolchildren. After training, the barristers will (for two years from September 2020) mentor the children to encourage them to raise their aspirations regardless of their background, challenges, or needs.
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.
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. Chambers will not tolerate discrimination of any kind. For more details please click here.
Women In Law Pledge
Maitland are proud signatories to the Women in Law Pledge created by The Bar Council of England and Wales, The Law Society, and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). As a Chambers, we are committed to the progress of equality, elimination of sex discrimination and pledge to make positive change for the legal profession.
For more information regarding the Women in Law Pledge, please visit here.
Maitland Chambers recognises that Members, Clerks and Staffs’ wellbeing reflects not only on our personal lives but also on our professional lives. We take the wellbeing of our Members and staff very seriously. We have a clear support structure in Chambers, which is regularly publicised by the Head of Chambers. We hold internal seminars and other events with a focus on wellbeing, and maintain a set of online resources for Members and Staff. We also subscribe to AXA/PPP’s “Health at Hand” scheme, and their “Be Supported” helpline, which enables all of our Members, Staff and their families access to confidential support at any time.
Maitland Chambers believes that conducting business ethically is a core part of its commitment to treating everyone with respect.
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).
We 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.
The majority of our charitable and volunteering initiatives within the community focus on two main areas:
- Access to Justice
- Support in the Community
Access to Justice
We recognise that many people struggle to obtain legal assistance due to various circumstances. 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 the following legal support charities and initiatives:
Advocate: Many members of Chambers work closely with Advocate to offer their time, skills and expertise to provide pro bono legal advice, drafting and representation to those who need it most. Cases are pre-analysed by Advocate so that members can easily identify those which are within their specialism and experience.
CLIPS: Members of Maitland 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 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 to request assistance on a pro bono case from a participating solicitor (and vice versa).
London Legal Support Trust: Maitland supports this independent charity through its fundraising events, including having a team participate in the the annual London Legal Walk each year. 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 is extremely proud of its work in the local and wider community.
We are particularly proud of the relationship we have built with the Argyle Primary School in the London Borough of Camden. The Argyle Primary School is a fully inclusive community school which in 2012 was awarded the Camden Award for Inclusion.
Our relationship and support for the Argyle Primary School is wide ranging. For example, over the last few years, Maitland Chambers has been involved in the following:
- Members fund an annual day trip for the children to such locations as Warwick Castle or Hampton Court, allowing the students to broaden 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 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.
Charitable Donations and Support
The Members, Clerks and Staff of Maitland Chambers individually support a number of charitable organisations of all causes and sizes; through volunteering their time, fundraising or making a donation.
Through previous Chambers-led initiatives we have supported 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.
As well as fundraising and charitable donations, members of Maitland 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 Ukrainian 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 QCs 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.
Maitland Chambers is committed to reducing its impact on the environment through various initiatives as follows:
Bar Sustainability Network
Reaching net zero and reducing global heating are not just issues for governments and large corporations: it requires action by every individual and every organisation, in the UK and beyond. For that reason, the Bar Council has established a new Bar Sustainability Network to support Chambers, Inns and legal support organisations to act on their climate impacts, and we are delighted to be a Founding Member. The network will provide us with a range of services and support to help us transition to a more sustainable way of working.
Throughout Chambers, there are recycling facilities, such as in all members’ rooms and in communal areas which promote the recycling of as much waste as possible including paper, cardboard, metal and plastic. Furthermore, confidential waste is shredded and recycled and redundant IT equipment is either donated to local charities or disposed of responsibly. Batteries are also collected in a recycling box, and battery packs from laptops are recycled.
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, Clerks 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. Previously we have hosted an internal seminar on the subject of paperless working to encourage this initiative further.
Finally, 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 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.
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.