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5 Stone Buildings

This case study may be useful if you are looking for examples of developing a wellbeing policy, increasing awareness of wellbeing, developing resilience training schemes and/or promoting wellbeing initiatives.

5 Stone Buildings wanted to ensure members were aware of wellbeing at work and to provide information about a healthy work/life balance. To achieve this, Chambers introduced a Wellbeing Policy, drawing from the Chancery Bar Association (ChBA) Policy. Chambers also established a Chambers Social Responsibility Committee, which incorporates wellbeing as one of its remits. 5 Stone Buildings has joined the Heart of the City’s two-year development programme to assist with its learning and development in relation to wellbeing issues.


What was the business (other case) for action?

Wellbeing in chambers drew on work by the Bar Council and the Chancery Bar Association via the Wellbeing at the Bar programme.  Chambers wished to ensure that its members, clerks and staff were fully aware of the importance of this project as well as what they could do in terms of their own wellbeing.

5 Stone Buildings wanted to provide a framework for members and staff to have regular dialogue on wellbeing issues and, in particular, over work allocation  (be it ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ work leading to members being either overwhelmed or underwhelmed)Chambers also wanted to ensure the responsibility of dealing with any wellbeing issues in chambers was shared appropriately (not just left to the Heads of Chambers).


What did the Chambers do?

  1. Chambers established a working group of members and staff to draft and implement a Wellbeing Policy which was adopted in November 2018. Policy development included research across other Chancery Chambers
  2. Chambers encourage members to attend wellbeing events including e.g. Chancery Bar events and talks by organisations like the City Mental Health Alliance.
  3. 5 Stone Buildings offers a ‘mentoring’ system where new junior members are paired with a senior member.
  4. Chambers has established a CSR Sub Committee and joined the Heart of the City two-year foundation programme. The wellbeing focussed elements of this programme adopted this year are:

(a) Promoting a positive culture of health and wellbeing at 5 Stone Buildings.

(b) Researching an employee assistance programme and publicising the Bar Council Scheme supported by the BMIF.

(c) Undertaking Mental Health First Aid Training.

(d) Introducing activities for Mental Health Awareness Week: signposting members to existing support services available through the ChBA as well as beginning conversations around work/life balance and how to take a ‘digital detox’.

(e) Chambers has also arranged for Dr Rangan Chattergee to provide the headline presentation at the ChBA.

In addition, Chambers has established a well-attended book club to enable members and staff to socialise outside of work and to foster better support networks.

“It is good to see learning from elsewhere applied to the Bar where 5 Stone Buildings has looked externally – as well as at bar-based initiatives – to see what can usefully be adopted in chambers. Great to see recognition too, of the value of mental health training, mentoring and activity which supports the creation of social networks across chambers – we particularly like the book club concept.”

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

What were the results?

Chambers now has much more engagement amongst members and staff about the fundamental importance of wellbeing and have a policy that chambers can adopt and apply.


  • Try to make wellbeing a normal part of everyday practice. Have a dedicated CSR/other committee and encourage input from as many people in chambers as possible. Utilise resources and expertise, such as the Bar Council Wellbeing at the Bar, Heart of the City etc.
  • Recognise the value of Mental Health training.

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Psychological wellbeing within the profession is rarely spoken about