The 21st anniversary of Pro Bono Week takes place this week (7-11 Nov). The annual event offers an opportunity to recognise and support the voluntary contribution made by the legal profession across the UK in giving free legal help to those in need.
Red Lion Chambers remain at the forefront of working with those who are most vulnerable and in need of legal help as well as mentoring and participating in a wide range of outreach work.
Highlights this year include:
• RLC members and staff raised much needed funds for London Legal Support Trust, Free Representation Unit and Advocate by participating in the London Legal Walk: [London Legal Walk 2022]
• First Launched in October of 2019, the RLC/ELBA programme has seen monthly mentoring sessions with aspiring law students from universities in East London. The latest programme which began at the end of 2021 saw the inclusion of a visually impaired student. ELBA mentees participated in a mock trial at the Old Bailey in June 2022 where members of RLC volunteered as jurors and witnesses with the Recorder of London, HHJ Mark Lucraft KC presiding as Judge: [Old Bailey mock trial]
• “Advocacy, Trial and Error” vignettes took place at the Old Bailey in one of the world’s most famous court rooms, Court No 1, during the evenings of 14-17 March 2022. Devised by former RLC Head of Chambers, HH Peter Rook KC the shows were co-sponsored by RLC and raised funds for two charities- the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund which supports ex-offenders and Pan Intercultural Arts who support rescued victims of trafficking. Music included two songs by the Amies Freedom Choir who are all survivors of modern slavery and trafficking: [Advocacy Trial]
• Joint Head of Chambers, Gillian Jones KC continues to work with Clean Break Theatre as a developmental board member involved in fundraising and raising awareness for the charity. She is a member of a legal referral panel and involved in a project looking at domestic abuse for The Centre for Women’s Justice. Her mentoring work includes the ELBA mentoring programme and the South Eastern Circuit KC mentoring programme.
• Ed Vickers KC is a Trustee of the Kalisher Trust – a charity that encourages and supports students from non-traditional backgrounds to pursue a career at the Bar, through schools’ outreach, further education scholarships, internships, advocacy and pupillage interview training. Ed is also the lead trustee for the Kalisher Trust mentoring scheme and an advocacy trainer at the Middle Temple and continues to provide professional ethics guidance to practitioners on the Bar Council’s Professional Ethics hotline.
• Allison Clare KC mentored non-selective state school Chislehurst school for Girls on 13 Oct as part of the Young Citizens mock trial competition and hosted a week of state schoolwork experience in the summer where students watched a case at the Old Bailey: [Justice Week 2022]
• Professor Susan Edwards and Jack Talbot took part in an “Enrichment Twilight session” at The Cardinal Wiseman Sixth Form in Greenford, Middlesex on 3 October. The weekly Enrichment Twilight sessions take place every Monday and are available to all Year 10-11 and Sixth Form students with the first session focusing on Law: [Education outreach session]
• Ex Young Citizens Alumni, Sophie Quinton-Carter participated in an online Young Citizens Celebration Event on Thursday 16 June, having sat earlier in the year as a volunteer judge in regional heats of their annual Mock Trials programme: [Young citizens mock trials]
• Following the Black Lives Matter movement, the SHIFT25 campaign continues to address the prejudice and injustices Black communities face in their daily lives and to work towards change with that ‘shift’ taking place by 2025: [Campaign for a better tomorrow]
Historically, many members have always played a pivotal role in working with charities and community groups. In a recent survey, findings showed that over half of RLC members (51%) offer support to charitable and legal charity organisations with 34% having worked with organisations for over 5 years maintaining long standing relationships.
Chambers continues to work with Young Citizens, The Kalisher Trust, The Centre for Women’s Justice, Clean Break Theatre, Women in Criminal Law and East London Business Alliance.