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Chancery Bar Association

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 increasing awareness of wellbeing.

The Chancery Bar Association wanted to make its members aware of the fundamental importance of wellbeing at work and, at the same time, provide information to ensure a healthy work/life balance for its members and their staff.

The Chancery Bar Association has 1,300 members. There is more information about the Association on their website at: http://www.chba.org.uk/about-us.

What was the business (other case) for action?

The initiative was developed against the background of the enormous amount of work done by the Bar Council in relation to WATB.  However, ChBA wished to ensure that their members were fully aware of the importance of this project together with what they could do in terms of their own wellbeing, together with other members of chambers, clerks and all other staff.

What did ChBA do?

The Chancery Bar Association has held a number of events, developed and promoted policy and introduced wellbeing initiatives since beginning to work on this agenda in November 2015:

1. The Junior Chancery Bar held an event in 2015 which set out a range of practical tips for dealing with common wellbeing issues.

2. They established a wellbeing sub-committee.

3. They have a Wellbeing page on their website: http://www.chba.org.uk/for-members/well-being

4. They held a wellbeing seminar in 2016 entitled “Resilience at the Bar” at which the speakers were Dr Bill Mitchell of the Mitchell Practice, Elizabeth Rimmer (Chair of Lawcare), and Hormoz Ahmadzadeh.

5. At their Annual Conference in 2017, they had a “main-stage” session for 1 hour on wellbeing. This session was exceptionally well received and exposed many of their members to the concept of wellbeing, when they had not really given this topic any proper thought before or realised its importance.

 

6. Together with the Institute of Barristers’ Clerks (Nick Hill (Chairman of the IBC) and David Goddard (President of IBC and Senior Clerk) they have prepared a “Wellbeing – Best Practice Policy”. This is a collaborative effort, as they were particularly concerned to produce a policy which could be a resource for all members of chambers and which recognises the equal role of barristers and clerks in delivering best practice consistent with the wellbeing objectives. The policy provides a tangible framework against which members of chambers can introduce wellbeing into their daily practice.

7. They launched their Best Practice Policy at a seminar on 4 October 2017 entitled “Manage your working relationship with your clerk.” The event was very well attended by a good mixture of barristers, clerks and chambers staff. They have published the Best Practice Policy on their website http://www.chba.org.uk/for-members/well-being/best-practice-policy, and have circulated to all their members in their newsletter. They have invited all chambers that their members belong to adopt their Best Practice Policy.

8. They organise weekly Pilates classes which are available to their members at a modest fee.

“The Chancery Bar Association has been a champion of the Wellbeing at the Bar initiative right from the beginning and having recognised its role in providing leadership, this is reflected in their proactive approach to policy, education and a wide range of initiatives. They demonstrate the key role a specialist Bar can do to support its members and challenge stigma.”

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

What were the results?

They have much more engagement amongst their members about the fundamental importance of wellbeing, and they have produced a policy that chambers can adopt and apply – and they know chambers are doing so.

Tips

  • Build on the work of others. There has been a lot said about wellbeing over the past 2 years or so by the Bar Council, which we recognise has been invaluable in relation to raising awareness and understanding about all the issues associated with wellbeing.  It is very important to build on that, to keep people interested and seeing wellbeing as a normal part of everyday practice at the Chancery Bar.

The information and resource packs on this website are designed to help you and your colleagues to work as a community for better wellbeing and professional resilience. If you want to provide feedback on these resources, or to get involved in promoting wellbeing please get in touch.


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It can be difficult to make a living from law and it can be pressurised and demanding. Competition and an adversarial approach to everything can make collegiate relationships difficult. This website aims to provide you with the knowledge to manage these stressors, make emotionally informed, wise professional decisions and thrive in your chosen profession.

A simple expression that sums up wellbeing is ‘travelling well’

Psychological wellbeing within the profession is rarely spoken about