Our ethos pivots on our commitment to the promotion of human rights and civil liberties through the law. Social responsibility is at the heart of this, and we support like minded people working to effect positive social change.
Our commitment to the community and wider society means that at any one time Members are either taking part individually or as a group in various social initiatives. Listed below are examples of just some of these initiatives.
Pro Bono and Volunteering
Members of Chambers are actively involved in the diverse communities within which they live, taking an active role in society. Members are encouraged to use their professional legal knowledge to benefit those who are disadvantaged, under-privileged or lack access to justice. Many of our barristers provide pro bono advice to those who cannot afford legal representation and volunteer their free time to legal advice drop-in centres.
Either as a collective or individually, Members of Chambers and staff support a number of charitable organisations of all sizes, through volunteering their time, fundraising or simply making a donation. We also have a Charitable Giving Policy which sets aside a proportion of the annual income of Chambers to be awarded in large and small grants. We identify three supported causes each year who benefit from a large grant, and indeed we have supported some causes over several years. In addition, we make a series of smaller grants and also have a budget for emergency funding of urgent campaigns or activities which seek to protect human rights or civil liberties.
Chambers annually fields a team of walkers, joggers and runners for the London Legal Walk, fundraising for law centres and legal advice agencies providing vulnerable people with access to justice regardless of their financial situation.
Chambers also supports the Kalisher Trust, which has a long association with members. The Trust was set up to provide scholarships and bursaries as well as mentoring and training to talented students otherwise unable to join the Criminal Bar due to financial constraints
We realise the importance of investing in the future of the Bar and encouraging equality and diversity. As such we have a work experience programme which enables Year 10 and 11 students from diverse backgrounds to experience what a career in the Bar would entail. We offer placements of one week between June and July each year; please click here for more information.
We also operate a mini-pupillage programme in conjunction with the Inns of Court which seeks to encourage applications from those who would not otherwise consider a career at the Bar. Please click here to read more about this programme.
Doughty Street Chambers is committed to protecting and enhancing the environment and as such we focus our resources where it is practical to conserving energy and protecting the environment, thereby reducing Chambers’ carbon footprint.
So far as it is reasonably practicable, Chambers’ operations are carried out with a commitment to having a positive social and environmental impact. This is supported by all members of Chambers and the workforce. In implementing this commitment to manage our environmental impact properly we will:
- Fully comply with environmental regulations, such as the WEEE 2006 directive.
- Ensure that environmental considerations are integrated into our business decisions.
- Ensure that we use risk assessments in order to identify potential environmental risks to our businesses.
- Actively pursue opportunities to minimise the environmental impact of our operations, concentrating particularly on the use of energy and waste disposal.
- Attempt to develop a wider understanding of environmental issues among our suppliers, tenants and workforce.
- Regularly review our policies to ensure that they remain properly aligned to the need to reduce waste and encourage the most effective utilisation of scarce resources.
- Continually review our business processes with a view towards neutralising and reducing our environmental impact, adopting a practice of sustainability.
- Actively encourage recycling in the workplace and as such work with ISO 14001 accredited suppliers that offer green business solutions and a comprehensive recycling service, enabling us to purchase environmentally friendly and sustainable products.
With effect from 1 September 2012, Regulations 408.2(l)-(t) of the Code of Conduct require all barristers to take reasonable steps to ensure the collection of certain 'headcount' diversity data collected from "members of the workforce" (defined by the Code as "including barristers, pupils, staff and clerks"). Under Regulation 408.2(p), barristers must take reasonable steps to ensure that an accurate and updated summary of the data so collected is published on Chambers' website by 31 December 2012 and every three years thereafter.
This data is valuable because it provides us with a knowledge base from which we can identify any disparities within certain groups, investigate the reasons for those disparities and take such remedial action as is appropriate. Such actions are only a regulatory requirement in respect of certain of the protected characteristics (race, disability and gender), with respect to staff, barristers, pupils and assessed mini-pupils (see Regulation 408.2(e)(i)), but we take the view that it would be beneficial to take such action, where appropriate, with respect to all the data we have collected as the BSB's guidance says "without data, it is impossible to establish the nature or extent of any inequality and therefore devise appropriate measures to reduce or remove it".
More generally, the collection of diversity data will assist Chambers in providing transparency in our recruitment and employment activities and in encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession.
The survey is entirely voluntary and it was conducted in such a way to guarantee the anonymity of those who contributed. 95.5% of Chambers' workforce responded to the questionnaire.
We are currently in the process of producing an updated diversity report which will be published here by the end of November 2018.