Social Responsibility

Welcome to the Chancery Bar Association’s CSR resource page

Increasing numbers of sets of Chambers are adopting “Social Responsibility” policies and practices, and we are delighted to help them do so.  We have set out below for a number of resources, links, and templates with this in mind.

What is CSR?
Corporate (or, in our profession, Chambers) Social Responsibility is the heading given for the many ways in which a business interacts positively with the wider community beyond the provision of services for profit.

Sets of Chambers now have:

  • Relationships with local schools, as part of which: barristers volunteer to teach debating, members of staff visit to help with reading, and Chambers might fundraise internally to sponsor the cost of a school trip.
  • Volunteering policies, encouraging staff to spend some of their (paid) working time volunteering on a regular basis.
  • Ethical business practices, such as ensuring staff and suppliers are paid an independently assessed “living wage”.
  • Environmental policies, to reduce waste and energy use.
  • Protocols to amplify and facilitate pro bono legal work, charitable giving, or charity trusteeships.
  • Participation in schemes to improve social mobility, such as offering work experience for 16-17 year-olds from low-income backgrounds via the Social Mobility Foundation.

Why CSR?
There are many reasons barristers might adopt some of the CSR initiatives above:

  • A passion for social justice.
  • Concern for the environment.
  • A desire to ensure that Chambers reflects the values of its members, and its clients.
  • Recruitment and retention factors: social responsibility policies may increasingly be important to those working in Chambers, or applying for a position.
  • Business development: clients may expect a pitch for business to include a statement of CSR policies.
  • Reputation management: CSR is becoming the norm. It may become difficult to justify blind spots in respect of (say) recycling, or paying a living wage.

How to do it
The starting point is to talk: to people in your own Chambers (is this something you want to help make happen?), and in other sets (how, practically, do these policies work for you?).

See also the resource kit below, including template proposals, which you can download.

The ChBA is building a network of members who have helped implement CSR policies in their own chambers, and who would be delighted to talk about how it can happen. Please contact Laurie Scher at or Francesca Compton at, who can help you take your ideas forward.