Equality & Diversity and Social Responsibility

Equality and Diversity

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion are central to the ethos of Monckton Chambers.

Chambers is committed to the Equality and Diversity Code for the Bar. We promote a culture where the individual is fairly treated and respected, and diversity is appreciated.
We believe in attracting and retaining talent from the widest possible pool and advancing equality of opportunity. This means that we do not discriminate on the grounds of age, disability, sex or gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, marital status, maternal status or any other protected characteristic.

Monckton Chambers does this in the following ways:

  • Maintaining a fair and transparent pupillage process with all appointments made solely on merit. We recognise however that candidates come to us from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences and that an individual’s achievements must be assessed by reference to the context in which they were attained. From 2022, and consistently with our legitimate interest in fair recruitment under the General Data Protection Regulation , Monckton has commissioned the use of the Rare Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) for its pupillage recruitment process. The Rare CRS uses data to help us identify candidates with the greatest potential. Rare’s impact assessments show that when organisations adopt the CRS, 61% more disadvantaged candidates are hired. Read more here [link to pupillage page]
  • Monckton Chambers is an equal opportunities employer and we encourage applications from those with diverse backgrounds and those with protected characteristics.
  • Chambers has a Fair Allocation of Work Policy, which ensures that work is allocated fairly within Chambers and that members are not disadvantaged due to their protected characteristics or any other irrelevant basis.
  • We have generous maternity and paternity policies. These are designed to support members and staff who require time away from chambers or more flexible working practices and are proud of our exceptional record of retention.
  • Chambers has an active Equality, Diversity and Wellbeing committee which acts to identify further ways in which Chambers can promote equality, diversity, and inclusion, and monitors the application of the Fair Allocation of Work Policy.
  • In accordance with the Bar Standards Board’s requirements, Members and Staff are given the opportunity to provide their Diversity Data to be anonymously published every 3 years. This provides transparency as regards Chambers recruiting and employment activities, and encourages a diverse, inclusive, and effective legal profession .
  • We support individual members in their personal endeavours to further equality, diversity, and inclusion at the bar, including through outreach work, mentoring, membership of wellbeing committees, or speaking at events in relation to diversity issues.

For more information on our diversity data: diversity data survey 2019.

Social Responsibility

Barristers and staff in Chambers are involved in a wide variety of activities to benefit a) access to justice and b) the community generally. We also seek to minimise 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 pro bono legal assistance charities – such as the Bar Pro Bono Unit and Support Through Court. 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.

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.

Mentoring schemes

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.

Social mobility Foundation

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

Pegasus Access Scheme (PASS)

We also participate in the Bar’s Pegasus Access Scheme (PASS), 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.
We will continue to actively run and support schemes which promote diversity and social mobility including:

Mentoring for Underrepresented Groups: A Scheme Run by COMBAR

Monckton Chambers along with 9 others sets run a mentoring scheme for underrepresented groups at the Bar.

The purpose of the scheme is to support and encourage individuals from groups which are underrepresented at the Bar of England and Wales (and in particular the commercial bar) to pursue careers as barristers. Those underrepresented groups include women; people from minority ethnic backgrounds; people with disabilities; LGBT+ people; people who spent time in care; and people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

The scheme will run between October 2022 and May 2023. It is open to all undergraduates and graduates from groups that are underrepresented at the Bar of England and Wales (and in particular the commercial bar) and who do not yet have a pupillage offer.

Successful applicants to join the scheme will be allocated a mentor, who will be a member of one of the participating sets of chambers. In addition to Monckton, the following Chambers are taking part this year: Blackstone, Brick Court, Essex Court, Fountain Court, Gatehouse, Keating, 7 King’s Bench Walk, One Essex Court and 3 Verulam Buildings.

As part of the scheme, mentees will be offered:

  •  Between three and five one-on-one meetings with their mentor
  • A workshop on applications for pupillage
  • Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, one or more social events for mentors, mentees and members of the participating sets of chambers.

Further information on the scheme, including the email address for the application form, can be found here and the application form here.

10,000 Black Interns

Chambers’ is delighted to announce that we have signed up to support the 10,000 Black Interns programme.

We have committed to host 2 interns through the programme in 2023, who will have the opportunity to shadow our barristers across our core practice areas. The scheme aims to help transform the horizons and prospects of young Black people in the United Kingdom.

For more information on the programme, and details on how to apply, please visit the 10,000 Black Interns website.

Legal education & 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 £830,000 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.

Learn more about ‘I am the Bar’ and  Bar placement scheme.

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