Giving back to the community
Fountain Court Chambers recognises a wider social responsibly, which it takes very seriously. Members and staff participate in a number of initiatives that reinforce chambers’ commitment to act in a socially responsible manner.
Pro Bono Work
We have a longstanding and proud commitment to pro bono work.
Former member of Fountain Court Lord Goldsmith QC established the Bar Pro Bono Unit (now, Advocate), which enables access to justice through providing barristers’ services on a pro bono basis.
We continue to support Advocate’s work in various financial and non-financial means. Fountain Court is a Gold Patron of Advocate and many of our barristers also provide financial support to the charity on an individual basis. Fountain Court is also an enthusiastic participant in the London Legal Walk, a fundraising event arranged by Advocate on behalf of free legal advice agencies in London.
Our barristers also provide legal advice and assistance on a pro bono basis through Advocate. More senior members support its work as case reviewers, and Philip Brook Smith QC is a trustee of Advocate and a member of its management committee.
Other pro bono work
First year tenants provide free legal advice in the Bethnal Green Advice Centre on a weekly basis, as part of Fountain Court’s ongoing commitment to the centre.
Chambers also participates in Pro Bono Connect, a scheme that maintains a network of chambers and firms of solicitors willing to work together on pro bono cases. Through this scheme, Fountain Court barristers have been instructed by law firms on a pro bono basis to provide a joined-up approach to the provision of pro bono legal services.
Our barristers also participate in a number of the pro bono schemes operated within the RCJ, including:
- The Queen’s Bench Division Interim Applications Court Pro Bono Advocacy Scheme
- The Chancery Litigants in Person Scheme
- The Commercial Court and London Circuit Commercial Court Pro Bono Scheme.
Access to the Bar
We participate in a number of initiatives that promote the furtherance of equality and diversity in the legal profession and which are designed to encourage diverse access to the Bar.
Pathways to Law
We have close links to the Pathways to Law scheme, which supports academically able students from non-privileged backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a career in law. The project offers placements to students to enable them to gain an insight into the life of chambers and the work of its barristers. It is part of a nationwide scheme developed by The Sutton Trust and The Legal Education Foundation.
Mentoring for Underrepresented Groups: A Scheme Run by Commercial Barristers’ Chambers
Fountain Court is also a founding member of the mentoring scheme established by the Commercial Bar 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. The scheme is called Mentoring for Underrepresented Groups: a scheme run by Commercial Barristers’ Chambers and is open to undergraduates and graduates from groups that are underrepresented at the Bar of England and Wales including women, people from minority ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities, LGBT+ people, people who have spent time in care and people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
Bridging the Bar: Mini-Pupillage Programme
We are also seeking to enhance diversity at the commercial bar by supporting and participating in Bridging the Bar, an initiative through which candidates from underrepresented groups are able to apply for mini-pupillages in chambers. Further details of the scheme can be found here.
We also offer work experience placements to students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds in partnership with a school in Deptford, an initiative established with the support of the Stephen Lawrence Trust.
For more information on Fountain Court’s commitment to equality and diversity, see here.
Chambers also proudly supports Le Cure, which was established by Marianne Butler in 2014 to raise money for cancer research undertaken by the Royal Marsden Cancer Society. Le Cure runs an annual cycle event, “Le Cure de France”, which sees cyclists (colloquially known as Curistas) take on some of the Tour de France’s toughest climbs in the French Alps over four gruelling days. Fountain Court counts a number of Curistas amongst its members. For more information see here.
Greener Litigation Pledge
In June 2021, Fountain Court was delighted to become a Founding Signatory of the Greener Litigation Pledge, an initiative launched with the intention of reducing the environmental impact of dispute resolution. In signing the Pledge, we commit to take active steps to reduce, with a view to minimising, the environmental impact of dispute resolution in England and Wales. To read more about the Pledge, please see here.