Giving back to the community
Fountain Court Chambers has always been at the forefront of delivery of pro bono services. For years, the set’s staff and members have provided advice for those in need through a variety of outlets. For example, junior members, such as Nick Daly and Simon Paul provide legal advice in the Bethnal Green Advice centre every Wednesday evening as part of chambers’ ongoing commitment to the centre, whilst the clerks’ team also support CSR initiatives in law firms and have assisted Olswang in helping the homeless in the Whitechapel Mission. The Whitechapel Mission serves men and women caught in the cycles of poverty, hopelessness and dependencies of many kinds, and works to see their lives transformed to hope, joy and lasting productivity.
Other schemes that our junior barristers (1-3 years call) volunteer for include: the Queen’s Bench Division Interim Applications Court Pro Bono Advocacy Scheme; and the Chancery Litigants in Person Scheme (CLIPS) set up in conjunction with the Chancery Bar Association to provide Pro Bono representation to litigants in person in the Chancery Division at the Rolls Building, Court 10 and at the Central London County Court.
Another CSR that Chambers are proud of includes silks such as Michael Green QC attending Wormwood Scrubs Prison on a monthly basis as part of a scheme to monitor the welfare of prisoners, including those in vulnerable positions.
We have close links to the Pathways to Law scheme which aims to support and encourage academically able students in Year 12 and 13 from non-privileged backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a career in law. The project, operated by a number of universities, is supported by Fountain Court through offering placements to gain an insight into the life of Chambers and the work of its barristers. It is part of a nation-wide scheme developed by The Sutton Trust and The Legal Education Foundation.
Fountain Court Chambers regularly supports the London Legal Walk, a fundraising event on behalf of free legal advice agencies in London, arranged by the Bar Pro Bono Unit. Following the Legal Walk in 2015, Chambers members were placed on the front page of their circular receiving special thanks.
Bar Pro Bono Unit
Former Fountain Court member Lord Goldsmith established the Bar Pro Bono Unit, which we continue to actively support. Silks and juniors continue to review numerous cases, devoting substantial amounts of time to work for the Bar Pro Bono Unit, ensuring legal representation in High Court hearings and many other cases for those most in need but without the ability to pay for representation.
Chambers has been awarded the ‘Friends in Law’ Award in 2013 & 2014 for our continued finance and support to FRU and the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
This year, chambers have joined the pilot of a new scheme called Pro Bono Connect, supported by the Bar Pro Bono Unit. The purpose of the scheme is to establish a network of chambers and firms of solicitors willing to work together on pro bono cases. It is intended to enable any barrister from a participating chambers working pro bono on a case to request assistance, via the clerks, from a participating solicitor.
Philip Brook Smith QC is a trustee and an instrumental part of the management committee of the Bar Pro Bono Unit and works alongside participating law firms such as; Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, K&L Gates LLP, Mishcon de Reya LLP, Enyo Law LLP, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Linklaters LLP, Allen & Overy LLP, DLA Piper LLP and Pinsent Masons LLP.
Outside of the legal arena, Chambers also works hard to contribute to a variety of charitable causes. For example, participating in the ‘Macmillan’s Go Sober for October’ fundraising event, the clerks’ team were awarded for being a top fundraising team, helping to raise just short of £3,000 for this incredible charity.