Chambers’ Social Responsibility

3VB is committed to social responsibility. It is part of 3VB’s strategic plan. We believe in contributing to society, promoting justice, and supporting access to the legal profession.

Of course, many individual barristers and staff give their time, enthusiasm, and money to help their own favourite causes, but chambers itself has as part of its core values a commitment to contributing to its community and acting in a socially responsible way.

Social Responsibility in Chambers has four areas of impact:

  • People – including equality, diversity, social mobility, and wellbeing;
  • Community – both internationally, locally, and in the legal community, including our active pro bono work, both in the UK and abroad;
  • Business Practice – including ethical practices and responsibilities; and
  • Environment.

Equality and Diversity

As set out below, 3VB is committed to being a diverse and inclusive place in which to work and strives to ensure that the principle of fair and equal treatment is upheld in all areas of our business, including recruitment of pupils, members, and staff, and also in the areas of practice development of members of Chambers and promotion of staff.

3VB is proud that its members and staff have a diverse range of ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. Every three years, 3VB conducts a survey of its members and staff recording such data [1] and it continues to promote that diversity in its training, retention, and recruitment policies.

3VB encourages individuality and provides a working environment which allows everyone to develop regardless of racial group, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, religion or belief, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or marital status. Each member and member of staff treats their colleagues with dignity and respect, and we foster an environment where individuals from all types of backgrounds can flourish and achieve their ambitions in a cohesive and supportive environment. We provide continuous training through both our Equality & Diversity Committee and our Pupillage Committee, including in-house training on fair recruitment and on unconscious bias, as well as external talks (see, for example, 3VB’s Black and Minority Access to the Commercial Barevent and Ali Malek QC’s speech at Gray’s Inn’s Diversity and Inclusion webinar).

Since 2019, 3VB has been one of the first signatories to the Women in Law Pledge. 3VB maintains its own action plan and diversity targets and promotes gender diversity.

3VB is committed to assisting all members and staff to manage their family responsibilities and to enjoy a rewarding career in Chambers. We have policies on Flexible Working which support our people with family commitments. We also have comprehensive Parental Leave Policies which reflect our philosophy in this regard.

We believe that this helps us to recruit and retain members of Chambers and staff of the highest quality from the widest pool of talent.

Outreach and Social Mobility

3VB is proud to be involved in the following schemes and initiatives:

  • An active participant in Mentoring for Underrepresented Groups, which supports and encourages individuals from groups which are underrepresented at the Bar of England and Wales 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.
  • A Founding Partner of ‘Bridging the Bar’ (BTB). BTB is a diversity mini-pupillage scheme that seeks to encourage the access and representation of aspiring barristers from underrepresented communities at the Bar. We arranged mini pupillages for four candidates, each for 2 days earlier this year. More details can be found here.
  • Supporters of the Black Talent Charter (BTC). In signing up as a “Supporter” we are making a public commitment to support the objectives of the BTC. We will engage with other sets who have agreed to become supporters and work together to develop strategies to setting achievable targets while still complying with equality legislation.
  • A member of the Pegasus Access and Support Scheme (PASS). PASS was established by the Inner Temple and sixty-two different partner chambers across a range of practice areas. The aim is to improve access to the profession and to support high achieving students from under-represented backgrounds by providing the experiences they need to be able to thrive at the Bar. PASS aims to do this by securing a mini pupillage in chambers for each participant. PASS also supports participants by providing a focused professional and advocacy skills development programme.
  • Taking part in outreach programmes with schools, promoting the profession especially to those groups of society currently under-represented. In particular, 3VB has:
    • for the past 10 years, in conjunction with the Eton College Universities Summer School (ECUSS), provided a Law Day for summer school students from underrepresented groups
    • recently partnered with the Sutton Trust to participate in its Pathways to Lawprogramme over the summer
    • supporting a local sixth form school in the community, by providing debating, mooting, CV writing and other workshops and talks
  • Funding several academic prizes and a substantial graduate law scholarship for the BCL.
  • Running and participating in virtual Student Law Fairs, in addition to mini pupillages, to give students an opportunity to learn about the different areas of the bar and the routes to the bar and where they are encouraged to freely ask questions and meet (virtually) our members of Chambers.

Wellbeing

Chambers is committed to providing a working environment in which its members and staff are safe, secure, and healthy. A work environment conducive to good physical, emotional and psychological health is one that is stimulating and challenging. Such a work environment strives to meet personal needs and business challenges through considering health and well-being and by improving the way in which our work is conducted. Please see our Wellbeing policy for further information.

Over the last decades, 3VB has grown to approximately ninety members of Chambers. But it maintains a collegiate and welcoming environment for all. Chambers arranges internal talks and seminars on wellbeing and regular Chambers social events which are well-attended.

3VB has trained seven of its members and staff to be registered Mental Health First Aiders. These people will be a point of contact for anyone in chambers who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. This interaction could range from having an initial conversation through to supporting the person to get appropriate help.

Chambers is also a financial supporter of LawCare, a charity which provides mental health and wellbeing support to anyone working in the law, as well as encouraging members of chambers

[1] The data is based on responses received. Consequently, total numbers vary from category to category and may not reflect the position that would have applied had all those eligible to participate chosen to do so. Also, data is not published where it might reasonably lead to the identification of individuals.

Access to Justice, Pro Bono work and the Legal Community

3VB is committed to access to justice both in the UK and abroad.

3VB has given a long-term financial commitment to Advocate, the Bar’s pro bono unit, as “Gold” members. Chambers also actively encourages individual pro-bono work from the outset of practice and throughout members of chambers’ careers. All new junior members are expected to do an Advocate case within the first 2 years of practice and fourth seat pupils take on an Advocate case under the supervision of or (where required/appropriate) jointly with their pupil supervisor. This builds up a connection to the work done by these organisations and helps our members appreciate how important it is. 3VB is proud that its members include past nominees for Young Pro Bono Barrister of the Year and that the pro bono cases in which members have been involved include one highlighted in #20years20cases.

3VB are founding and long-time supporters of JUSTICE and members of JUSTICE60, a human rights charity, working to reform the UK justice system with a focus on the most vulnerable and marginalised in society.  Hartley Shawcross (Baron Shawcross, (4 February 1902 – 10 July 2003), is a famous former member of 3VB and in 1957 among a group of eminent British lawyers founded JUSTICE, and he became its first chair, a position he held until 1972.

3VB also gives generously to:

  • BAILLI, a charity that provides access to freely available British and Irish public legal information.
  • The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, which is committed to advancing the rule of law worldwide.

As set out on its dedicated IADRU page, 3VB provides a unique form of “international CSR” through its international advisory and dispute resolution unit – from financial services in Africa, to outreach schemes on a global scale.

3VB is also proud to donated to the IBAHRI and Helena Kennedy QC’s project to evacuate and help resettle Afghan Judges and their families in late 2021, about which there is further information on 3VB’s news feed.

Local Community Giving and Doing

Chambers supports numerous charities and is pleased to assist various other projects and organisations in the local community. Over the last decade, it has awarded over £600,000 to a variety of good causes including, local schools, local community associations, and many other charities in the local community, including: the Christopher Hatton School, Down’s South London, the Holborn Community Association, and Camden Foodbank.

Our next step will be to encourage active and direct involvement through a range of activities that will benefit our local community. This will be in addition to the work our members do in a pro bono capacity. Details of the variety of pro-bono work undertaken by barristers at 3VB are given in the CVs of individual members of Chambers.

As a leading set of chambers, we seek to achieve high standards in all we do. We believe that the success of our business and the achievement of our strategy depend on the trust and confidence we inspire in all our stakeholders. To do this, we must act responsibly, creating long-term, sustainable value and supporting their future success.

Responsible business entails compliance with certain standards, which includes:

  • Terms of business, which set out clearly our responsibilities in relation to client confidentiality, conflicts of interest, fees, and client care
  • Quality Service Standards to improve client care, from the moment client instructions are accepted to when the matter is completed
  • An Anti-Money Laundering Policy
  • An Anti-Bribery Policy, Ethics Policy, and Modern Slavery Statement, and
  • Business Continuity and Risk Management plans.

3VB is an accredited London Living Wage employer and has committed to pay at least the London Living Wage to both employees and subcontracted workers (such as security and cleaning staff) which is set annually by the Living Wage Foundation and calculated by the Greater London Authority.

3VB is committed to running a business that is environmentally sustainable and we continually strive to minimise our impact on the environment. Our Environmental Policy sets out how we intend to achieve this. We have ongoing reviews to ensure we maintain and develop an integrated, comprehensive, and practical sustainability policy that ranges from how we source our energy and office supplies, to how we print and recycle. Through the work we have done to date, and commit to continue doing, we are a Founder Member of the Bar Council’s Sustainability Network programme, a signatory of the London Clean City Award Scheme, Premium members of the Camden Climate Change Alliance and members of the Greener Litigation Pledge.