Withers & Rogers - Modern Slavery Act
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Withers & Rogers Slavery Act Statement 2024

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (“the Act”) signalled a new drive in the fight against slavery.  It includes a duty on businesses to play their part in stopping modern slavery in global supply chains.  Withers & Rogers LLP (“W&R”) is committed to being a responsible business and complying with the requirements of the Act.

Section 54 of the Act (Transparency in Supply Chains) requires W&R to publish a statement on its website of the steps taken during the financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of our supply chains or in any part of our own business.

Suppliers are those businesses that supply either goods or services (or both) to W&R directly.

Firm Structure and supply chain

W&R is an IP firm which provides a comprehensive service that extends to both securing IP rights – such as patents, trade mark and design registrations for the UK, Europe and further afield – and advising on their exploitation and enforcement. Alongside, we provide proactive support functions that help our clients keep track of their IP, stay on top of its maintenance, and stay in control of cost.

We are driven by our core values which we are currently refreshing, are proud of our culture and see it as our purpose to make a difference in our profession.  

As at our financial year end, 31 March 2024, we had 33 Partners and employed 172 people.  We use contractors at times to support our fee earners and business operations.

Under our operating structure we have a number of subsidiaries who are part of our supply chain.  However, for the purpose of the Act, the relationship we have with these is different from the third-party external suppliers.  Subsidiaries are required to comply with the ethical principles set out by W&R.  For this reason, we have excluded W&R subsidiaries from the definition of ‘suppliers’ in our Modern Slavery Act Statement.

Our supply chain involves the purchase of goods and services supporting the operation of our offices and services to our clients.  Consumables purchased include office supplies, marketing materials, IT equipment and estate services such as cleaning, waste management, office fixtures and fittings, security and catering.  These constitute the embodiment of the term ‘supplier’ for the purpose of our supplier code of conduct.

W&R operates the following policies and procedures that describe its approach to the identification of modern slavery risks and steps to be taken to prevent slavery and human trafficking in its operations.

Supplier code of conduct

One of W&R’s core principles is to operate its business both lawfully and ethically, which includes working with suppliers that are aligned to the same values.  Everything we do is underpinned by a focus on quality.

W&R expects its suppliers to operate in accordance with applicable laws, respecting individuals’ human rights, and mindful of environmental and safety impacts of products and services.

Key requirements of W&R’s supplier code of conduct are:

  • To have policies, systems and or procedures in place to ensure the prevention of unethical business practices, including, but not limited to, human rights abuses, money laundering, fraud, bribery, corruptions and other improper payments
  • Not to use slave labour, child labour or forced labour, not to engage in or support human trafficking
  • To ensure that working hours, wages, overtime pay and working conditions are in compliance with all applicable laws and
  • To provide a clean, safe and healthy working environment to protect the occupational safety of all employees.

Culture and Ethics

W&R strives to maintain the highest standards of professional conduct and ethical behaviour.  All partners are required to abide by the IPREG code of conduct which requires our attorneys to act in accordance with the following fundamental principles:

  • Competence. Regulated persons shall carry out their professional work with due skill, care and diligence and with proper regard for the technical standards expected of them. A regulated person should only undertake work within their expertise or competence.
  • Regulated persons shall at all times act with integrity putting their clients’ interests foremost subject to the law and any overriding duty to any Court or Tribunal.
  • Client Care. Service Regulated persons shall carry out their professional work in a timely manner and with proper regard for standards of professional service and client care.
  • A regulated person must not act where their interests’ conflict with those of a client or of a former client, or where they know or has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the interests 7 of any partner or regulated person or staff of their firm, conflict with those of a client or of a former client.
  • Confidentiality and Disclosure. Regulated persons must keep the affairs of clients and former clients confidential except where disclosure is required and permitted by law or by the client or former client.
  • Regulated persons’ fees must be justifiable.
  • Financial Matters. Regulated persons shall ensure that their professional finances are managed appropriately
  • Complaints Handling. Regulated persons in private practice must have an established procedure for dealing with complaints.
  • Liens Regulated. Persons may exercise a lien over client papers and other materials belonging to a client only when and to the extent that the lien is available in law or the lien is an express term of business to which the client has agreed.
  • Duty to Act. in the Interests of Justice Regulated persons exercising any right to appear before a Court or Tribunal or to conduct litigation must comply with their duties to the Court or Tribunal and act with independence in the interests of justice.
  • Anti-Discrimination. Regulated persons must not, in the conduct of their practice, unfairly or unlawfully discriminate against any person on grounds of race, religious belief, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability.
  • Continuing Professional Development. Registered patent attorneys and registered trade mark attorneys shall undertake appropriate continuing professional development and, on request, provide details thereof to the appropriate Regulation Board
  • Professional Indemnity. Without prejudice to any obligation contained in the Special Rules of Professional Conduct applicable to Litigation Practitioners, each registered person must ensure that their Professional Indemnity Insurance is commensurate with the risks at large arising from the extent and size of their practice
  • Publicity and promotional activity of any kind by regulated persons is permitted if it is fair, honest, accurate and is not misleading and is not otherwise in breach of these Rules
  • Information to Regulation Boards. Regulated persons shall submit in a timely manner such information as the Regulation Boards may reasonably require.
  • Co-operation. Regulated persons shall co-operate fully with the appropriate Regulation Boards, and with any persons designated by them in connection with their regulatory responsibilities.

We promote a culture where our people are encouraged to work together, to be themselves and are inspired and challenged.  We want our people to be successful.

We will be guided by our Values:

Encouraging a culture of Inclusivity is important to us at Withers & Rogers. We care about what we do.  We understand the difference in working with real people who bring passion and personality to the job to make it much more than filing a patent, TM, design or grant.

We have just embarked on a project to help articulate both our purpose and values.  This work will give everyone in the firm the opportunity to contribute, and we are excited to share our findings later in the year.

As part of our identification, we will ensure that our Values work interdependently and are built on three fundamental principles, that our Values will:

  • Ensure that as a business we act with integrity, we do what is right and they guide everything that we do
  • Start with each of us as an individual. We live the Values, we lead by example and it is our fundamental way of ‘being’
  • Help us all to be the best version of ourselves and encourage an environment that is inclusive and open.

Our Code of Conduct

Our code of conduct is a framework to help us do the right thing. It is an expression of our shared values and the way we do business, which helps us to work openly, honestly and ethically. The Code of Conduct includes the following principles:

  • We act with integrity. We are open, honest and fair
  • We reject unethical or illegal business practices
  • We maintain our objectivity
  • We are alert to and deal with perceived and actual conflicts of interest
  • We protect the confidential and personal information of our clients, our people and others with whom we do business
  • We only undertake professional activities we are competent to do
  • We keep our professional knowledge up to date and share best practice
  • We conduct ourselves professionally and strive at all times to protect and enhance our brand and reputation.


Our policies include ensuring that all candidates produce original documentation indicating that they have the right to work in the UK prior to commencing employment.

Speaking Up

W&R encourages all its employees, customers and other business partners to report any concerns related to the direct activities, or the supply chains, of W&R’s.

Training for our people

We use Metacompliance to provide annual training on the Modern Slavery Act among other regulatory matters.

Supplier Risk Assessment & Due Diligence

  • We recognise our responsibility to identify and address potential or actual human rights impacts linked to the goods and services we purchase.
  • A process is in place to assess modern slavery and human rights risk with our suppliers. When we appoint suppliers we ask that they can comply with our statement.
  • ln cases where suppliers fail to provide adequate evidence of appropriate procedures to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains, we will seek to help them achieve the appropriate outcome.

We will continue to review our approach on an annual basis and will enhance our approach if improvements are identified.

This statement constitutes the modern slavery and human trafficking statement of W&R  and its subsidiary undertakings, for the financial year ended 31 March 2024.

Fiona McBride