Cathedral Chambers Policies

For information regarding complaints, please refer to our Client Satisfaction and Complaints Procedure pages.


Cathedral Chambers Terms of Engagement as of 1st February 2013

In so far as any arrangement exists between the authorised person and Counsel it shall be construed and interpreted with the benefit of the Bar Councils Standard Conditions of Contract for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorised Persons 2012 (attached hereto)

In particular attention is drawn to the following conditions:

  1. The authorised person must ensure that these instructions delivered to the barrister are adequate to supply him with the information and documents reasonably required and in reasonably sufficient time for him to provide the services requested.

  2. Where an authorised person requires the barrister to preform all or any part of the services urgently the authorised person shall ensure that the instructions are clearly marked with unambiguous timescales and reason for the urgency.

  3. Upon receipt the barrister will within a reasonable time review the instructions and inform the authorised person whether he accepts or not the instructions.

  4. The fee of the services shall be calculated as agreed between the barrister and the authorised person through his clerk prospectively or retrospectively.

  5. The barrister is entitles to deliver an invoice to the authorised person at any time after supplying the services or the relevant part thereof.

  6. Such invoice shall be delivered not more than 3 months after the supply of services.

  7. The authorised person must pay the invoice within 30 days of delivery whether or not the authorised person has been put in funds by the lay client. The invoice must be paid without any set-off (whether by reason of a complaint made or dispute with the barrister or otherwise) and without any deduction or withholding on account of any taxes or other charges.

  8. If the invoice remains outstanding after 30 days the barrister is entitles to the fixed sum and interest in accordance with the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998; to sue the authorised person for payment; and subject to the Barrister obligations to the court and under paragraph 610 of the Code to refrain from doing any further work in the case unless payment for that further work is made in advance.

Cathedral Chambers Anit-Harassment Policy:

  1. Cathedral Chambers is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals, clients and the public are treated with dignity and respect. Cathedral Chambers is determined to promote a work environment in which everyone is treated equally and with dignity and can flourish.

  2. Harassment in any form will not be tolerated at Cathedral Chambers. Harassment includes any unwanted conduct related to sex, race, disability, gender re-assignment, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. Such behaviour may take many forms including:
    • Conduct which is unwanted by the recipient and perceived as hostile or threatening;
    • Conduct which gives rise to a hostile or threatening work environment;
    • Conduct which creates an atmosphere in which it is feared that rejection or submission will be used as a basis for decisions which have an impact on the recipient at work such as an allocation of work or tenancy decision.

  3. The following are examples of types of behaviour which may amount to harassment:
    • Physical or sexual assault
    • Requests for sexual favours in return for career advancement;
    • unnecessary physical contact;
    • exclusion from social networks and activities or other forms of isolation;
    • bullying;
    • compromising suggestions or invitations;
    • suggestive remarks or looks;
    • display of offensive materials, including on a computer screen;
    • tasteless jokes or verbal abuse, including any sent by email;
    • offensive remarks or ridicule;
    • dealing inappropriately or inadequately with complaints of harassment.

  4. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010. In addition to the above unwanted conduct, it can arise where a person engages in any kind of unwanted sexual behaviour (or gender reassignment or sex related behaviour).

  5. Complaints of harassment may be raised informally in the first instance with a Head of Chambers, Christopher McKay who will attempt to resolve the matter. Formal complaints should be made under the Cathedral Chambers Equality Procedures, available on request from Head of Chambers, Christopher McKay.

  6. Harassment is misconduct for employees or a breach of the Bar Code of Conduct for barristers. Allegations of harassment will be dealt with under the Cathedral Chambers Equality Procedures.

  7. Cathedral Chambers is committed to ensuring that no-one who makes an allegation of harassment in good faith should be subjected to any detriment as a result. Any victimisation of the complainant, witness or anyone else involved in the investigation of a complaint will be viewed as a disciplinary matter.

  8. This policy was adopted on 14th October 2013 and will be reviewed in October 2015.

Cathedral Chambers Reasonable Adjustments Policy:

    Aims and Remit of Policy

  1. Cathedral Chambers is committed to making reasonable adjustments in order to remove or reduce substantial disadvantage for disabled people working with chambers or receiving legal services. This policy covers all employees of chambers, barristers, clerks, pupils, mini- pupils and visitors to chambers.

  2. Circulation

  3. This policy is circulated to all members, staff, pupils, clerks and those who are required to read and understand it.

  4. Definition of Disability

  5. For the purposes of this policy the definition of disability follows that set out in the Equality Act 2010 s.6. A person is therefore disabled if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. “Substantial” means more than minor or trivial and “long term” means 12 months or more.

  6. Types of Reasonable Adjustment

  7. This policy does not provide an exhaustive list of the reasonable adjustments that Cathedral Chambers will make for staff, barristers, pupils or visitors however the following types of adjustment that may be made are listed below:
    • Provision of information in alternative formats (e.g. large print, Braille etc)
    • Paid leave for disabled employees of chambers
    • Provision of auxiliary aids e.g. induction loops
    • . Provision of accessible conference room facilities e. Provision of a reader or interpreter.

  8. Staff, Barristers and others in Chambers

  9. Staff or barristers with specific requirements should make requests to the Head of Chambers, Christopher McKay for reasonable adjustment decisions. All requests for reasonable adjustments will be considered on a case by case basis with the advice and assistance of chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officer, Felicie Lucas and where it is not possible to make the adjustment requested Cathedral Chambers will discuss viable alternatives with the applicant.

  10. Head of Chambers is responsible for considering whether or not disabled staff, barristers or pupils require assistance during an emergency evacuation and if so whether or not a personal emergency evacuation plan is required for the individual/s concerned. If so, the plan will be developed in partnership with the individual concerned in order to ensure that adjustments to the emergency evacuation procedure may be made.

  11. Cathedral Chambers is committed to ensuring that no-one who makes an allegation of harassment in good faith should be subjected to any detriment as a result. Any victimisation of the complainant, witness or anyone else involved in the investigation of a complaint will be viewed as a disciplinary matter.

  12. Visitors to Chambers

  13. Barristers are responsible for considering reasonable adjustment requests for their visitors. They are also responsible for anticipating any likely reasonable adjustments that will need to be made for visitors whom they know to be disabled and are likely to require assistance. Visitor requests for specific reasonable adjustments may be made by contacting one of the Senior Clerks.

  14. Cost of Making Reasonable Adjustments

  15. In no circumstances will Cathedral Chambers pass on the cost of a reasonable adjustment to a disabled person.

  16. Monitoring and Review

  17. This policy will be reviewed by Cathedral Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officer at least every two years. The date of the next review will be October 2015.

  18. Approved by the Management Committee on 14th October 2013

Cathedral Chambers Equality Programme of Action:

This document sets out Cathedral Chambers’ Equality & Diversity Programme of Action for 2013 – 2014. It describes the positive actions Cathedral Chambers is taking to promote good Equality & Diversity practice. Also attached is an appendix detailing compliance-evidence requirements.

OUR COMMITMENT TO EQUALITY AND DIVERISTY

Cathedral Chambers is committed to the active promotion of equal opportunities for all and to the avoidance of discrimination related to a protected characteristic including age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, marital or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or political persuasion, sexual orientation.

In particular, Chambers recognises the need to take positive steps to identify and eliminate discrimination so as to afford:

  1. Equality of access to all applicants for pupillage, tenancy or employment
  2. Equality of treatment to all members, pupils and staff
  3. Equality of service to professional clients covering both the planning of services and decisions whether to accept instructions or offer advice

Chambers is also committed to providing a working environment in which all individuals including Members of Chambers, pupils, mini-pupils, employees and visitors are treated with dignity and respect.

This programme of action takes account of the Equality Act 2010, related employment legislation, The Bar Code of Conduct, the Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Code.

EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY IN CHAMBERS

Membership of and employment by Cathedral Chambers (“Chambers”) involves a commitment to give effect to the Equality and Diversity Code for the Bar.

Chambers’ Equality & Diversity file contains detailed statements of the policies and procedures applied in Chambers in accordance with the Bar Code and Expectations Statements.

Equality & Diversity Programme of Action

OUR EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY POLICY IN PRACTICE

  1. DEMONSTRATED TOP LEVEL COMMITMENT TO EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
  2. Cathedral Chambers recognises the importance of demonstrated top level commitment and support to translate our Equality & Diversity values and standards into practice.

    Equality and Diversity are a regular feature of monthly Management Committee meetings.

  3. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES OFFICER (EOO)
  4. We have a designated Chambers’ Equal Opportunities Officer. The EOO plays an important role in reviewing, developing and implementing our Equality and Diversity Policy, working closely with the Head of Chambers and members of Chambers Management Committee on equality and diversity issues. The EOO is also the conduit for informal resolution of grievances related to equality and diversity.

  5. COMMUNICATION OF THE EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY POLICY
  6. The EOO ensures that all Clerks and Members of Chambers are aware of, apply Chambers Equality and Diversity Policy and are kept up to date with changes made to it.

    Chambers includes a statement of our Equality & Diversity Policy in client and business engagement letters, on all promotional material and through our website.

  7. EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY TRAINING

  8. EQUALITY MONITORING
  9. Chambers collects, analyses and monitors equality data from tenancy, pupillage and staff recruitment exercises. The results of equality monitoring are reported to the Management Committee at regular intervals to facilitate appropriate action.

  10. PUPILLAGE
  11. All vacancies for pupillage are advertised on a website designated by the Bar Council, subject to limited exceptions. We also have a separate written policy covering Pupillage, in accordance with the requirement in Annex C of the Code of Conduct of the Bar Council. This is contained in our Equality & Diversity file.

  12. RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION OF STAFF
  13. Each person working in Chambers has a written contract of employment; individual job description; record of staff sickness and planned holidays; training records; an annual appraisal with appropriate records maintained. The job description for each staff member sets out in writing what is expected of them. This is given to them on commencement of their employment together with a copy of the disciplinary and grievance procedures.

    Cathedral Chambers ensures that those involved in recruitment and selection are briefed on the importance of adopting an evidence-based approach in interviews. Applicants receive an application form and standard questions are used in interviews to test suitability for vacancies. Decisions are recorded using a standardised form.

  14. MONITORING OF WORK DISTRIBUTION
  15. Work distribution amongst pupils is covered in the separate Pupillage policy.

    The EOO ensures that the clerks are trained to be fair in the distribution of work amongst all Members of Chambers.

    The Clerks monitor and review the distribution of work during Practice Reviews with Members of Chambers

    Any complaints about the distribution of work are dealt with in accordance with the Chambers’ Grievance Procedure.

  16. COMPLAINTS/GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
  17. All Chambers’ employees have contracts of employment containing details of the Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures in place in relation to their employment Chambers has a written grievance procedure which includes procedures for handling complaints about discrimination or harassment. There is a separate complaints resolution procedure to deal with complaints from solicitors, a copy of Chambers Grievance Procedure is made available to every current and future tenant and pupil in Chambers through the office files which are readily available.

    The EOO is responsible for administering the grievance procedure A person who believes that he or she has experienced discrimination in breach of any of the provisions of this policy or the Equality Act 2010, is invited to raise the matter informally with the EOO or through Chambers’ Grievance Procedure Equality & Diversity Programme of Action

    Appendix – Compliance and evidence of good practice

Evidence - General Actions

To be legally compliant, Chambers must be able to provide evidence of the positive steps they have taken to promote good equality and diversity practice in the following areas:

  1. Demonstrated top level commitment to Equality & Diversity issues (designated senior manager/Head of Chambers with accountability for implementation and oversight)
  2. Publication of a policy on Equality and Diversity and Harassment and action plan.
  3. Publication of a policy on maternity, paternity and paternity leave
  4. Evidence that policies and action plans have been communicated across chambers and to clients and suppliers
  5. Process in place to make reasonable adjustments in a timely and appropriate manner
  6. Training for all staff, members and pupils
  7. Effective procedure for dealing with complaints (informal and formal)
  8. Evidence that managers and supervisors take complaints seriously
  9. Equality targets and positive action initiatives
  10. Robust equality monitoring to ensure effective personnel practices and policies at recruitment, pay and conditions, selection, placement, work allocation and returns, practice development, promotion, training opportunities, disciplinary action, appraisals
  11. Audits to check fairness in provision of legal services and client relations
  12. Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing progress e.g. checking recruitment monitoring data annually and taking corrective action to redress under representation

Evidence - Specific Actions

Given changes arising from The Equality Act, Chambers may need to take specific actions in the following areas:

  1. Review recruitment processes and procedures to remove inappropriate pre-employment medical questions
  2. Adapt policies and procedures to prevent harassment from third parties
  3. Review policies and procedures to avoid potential associative discrimination claims
  4. Remove pay secrecy clauses from contracts of employment
  5. Ensure those responsible for recruitment and selection are updated on the changes arising from the Equality Act.
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