Pro Bono, Community Action & Environment

We are a collection of individuals – barristers and staff. We are involved in a wide variety of activities to benefit a) access to justice and b) the community generally. We also seek to minimize our impact on the environment. The following are some examples of what we do:

Access to justice

Our barristers (all independent self-employed practitioners) are regularly involved in providing legal advice and representation on a pro bono basis (i.e. without charge) for the benefit of individuals and organisations who might otherwise be unable to access legal assistance. As a Chambers, we work with a number of pro bono legal assistance charities – such as the Bar Pro Bono Unit, the Environmental Law Foundation, and Advocates for International Development (A4ID) – to identify cases where our barristers’ expertise may be most useful. A number of our barristers have also established arrangements with other organisations, such as Shelter, to help individuals at risk of homelessness, and the Request Initiative, an information law advocacy service.

Some of our barristers’ pro bono work is in high profile cases: for example, Raymond Hill was nominated for the Bar Pro Bono Award 2012 as a result of his work for the advocacy group “Justice for Magdalenes”, representing former residents of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries. In February 2013 the group was successful in its objective of obtaining a public apology from the Irish State, together with a commitment to establishing a fund to pay compensation. However, the vast majority of our barristers’ pro bono work is in more ‘ordinary’ cases which may nevertheless be of very great significance for the individual litigants involved.

Our barristers also work with various international organisations on such matters as assisting the development of new national legal systems, law reform projects, the training of lawyers and judges, and monitoring the fairness of trials and elections.

Using our skills in the community

We encourage and support our barristers and staff to contribute their skills to a wide range of charities and community activities. A number of us are charity trustees or school governors, often as a result of registering with a service such as the Law Society’s ALLIES (‘A Local Lawyer in Every School’) scheme.

Social mobility and access to the legal profession

Monckton Chambers provides internships to young people via the placement scheme operated by the Social Mobility Foundation, a charity which aims to improve social mobility for young people from low income backgrounds.

We also participate in Bar’s Pegasus Access Scheme, a centrally coordinated work experience programme that aims to support those from diverse backgrounds to consider a career at the Bar.

The Scheme is administered by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple for the Bar of England and Wales. It is part of the Inns of Court’s work to encourage and support diversity and social mobility in the profession.

Legal education and profession

We are keen to establish links with the academic teaching of law. We sponsor an annual public lecture at Oxford University to raise awareness of key issues in EU law within the academic and wider community. The lecture is held in honour of our former Head of Chambers, Sir Jeremy Lever QC.

Our barristers also support a number of Bar Council programmes for providing work experience placements for young lawyers from other jurisdictions.

Fundraising

Teams from Monckton Chambers take part in a number of fundraising activities, including the annual London Legal Walk in aid of the London Legal Support Trust. Last year, the walk raised over £740,000 to support law centres and free legal advice clinics. Our clerks have also supported the ‘Movember’ fundraising campaign, growing moustaches in aid of Prostate Cancer UK (photographs available on request).

Environment

Monckton Chambers is always looking for ways to reduce our impact on the environment. We have put in place arrangements to maximise waste recycling and reduce our energy usage. We have also introduced an in-house filtered water system using reusable bottles.