Organisations who provide pro bono often need more volunteers. Through pro bono work you can give something back to your community and develop your legal skills and knowledge.
LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group) operates in England and Wales, working alongside the solicitors’ profession and our members, the Law Society, law schools and law students, law centres, advice agencies and others to develop and support pro bono legal services, and to promote access to justice for all.
Work includes promoting and supporting pro bono within the solicitors’ profession and in law schools, connecting those needing pro bono legal services with the pro bono volunteers and assistance they need, and advocating for policy change and the goal of access to justice for all. There are around 240 clinics in the network and last year almost 40,000 vulnerable individuals received free legal advice from over 9,000 volunteers.
Local Advice Agencies
Please click to visit the Local Advice Agencies database.
Pro Bono UK Booklet
Click to view the Pro Bono UK booklet which contains details of the following organisations as well as those listed here.
Innocence Network (UK)
Advocates for International Development (A4ID)
NATIONAL CLEARING HOUSES
Bar Pro Bono Unit
- Barristers for:
- Representation in a court or tribunal
- specialist advice
- help at mediation
- All legal areas.
- All tribunals and courts in England and Wales.
- Cases where legal aid is available or a barrister can be paid for.
- Individuals exclusively by referral from a solicitor, MP or advice agency using a referral form available online.
- Applications must be submitted at least 3 weeks before help is needed.
- Applications from charities, community groups, companies and other organisations via application form available on website.
Free Representation Unit
- Representation in tribunals and pre-hearing settlement negotiations in
- Social security benefits
- Criminal injuries compensation.
- Cases without a date for a tribunal hearing
- Tribunal venues more than one hour from London or Nottingham.
- Exclusively by referral from partner advice agencies as listed on website.
More than 70% of law schools in England and Wales have pro bono programmes. Many of them involve clinical legal education, enabling students to learn about the law while responding to real legal needs under supervision from qualified volunteer lawyer.
Support (depending on individual institution)
- Legal advice clinics
- Innocence projects
- Provision of information about legal rights and responsibilities through active Streetlaw presentations.
- Telephone help lines
- Tribunal and court representation.
- Find out which pro bono services are offered by individual law schools using the searchable database at the website below.
PERSONAL SUPPORT UNIT (PSU)
- Practical and emotional support for people without representation in civil and family court proceedings in court and court offices.
- Signposting to relevant agencies and resources online.
- PSU offices in major court centres in Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, London and Manchester – planning begun for Leeds and Bristol in 2013.
- Legal advice or representation.
- Instant access at offices normally available, but prefer appointment in advance by telephone or email.
See website for telephone, address and email details for individual offices.
Four virtual clinics are to be developed and piloted with the Birmingham PSU. This is where volunteer lawyers are available to respond in real time to questions submitted by service users in collaboration with a front line advice agency during a pre-agreed period. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org rs.
OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION & SUPPORT
The primary website that draws together all the best information and guidance, including:
- The RCJ Advice Bureau series of “Going to Court” guides.
- The Advicenow leaflet “Seven Steps to Solving a Problem”.
The National Pro Bono Centre
The National Pro Bono Centre houses the profession’s national clearing houses for legal pro bono work delivered in England and Wales: the Bar Pro Bono Unit, LawWorks (the Solicitors’ Pro Bono Group) and the CILEx Pro Bono Trust (CILEx PBT). The Centre is designed to be a “hub” for pro bono charities in the sector and will support the wide range of pro bono projects and brokerage which the charities support, helping individuals and community groups all over England and Wales. Three other charities have joined the Centre: The Access to Justice Foundation, the London Legal Support Trust and i-ProBono. The new offices provide a central resource for people seeking pro bono legal advice and representation, making it easier for people in need to seek and receive help.
The National Pro Bono Centre
48 Chancery Lane
CILEx Pro Bono Trust (CILEx PBT)
CILEx Pro Bono Trust is an independent registered charity set up with the support of The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). The key goal of the CILEx Pro Bono Trust is to work in partnership with other facilitators and providers of pro bono legal services in order to raise awareness and support the pro bono work of CILEx and other lawyers.
Civil Justice Council
A CJC working party has looked at how access to justice can be improved for self-represented litigants who either choose not to have or cannot afford legal representation. Its report sets out a range of short and longer term practical recommendations aimed at addressing the problems faced by unrepresented litigants to help them resolve their disputes.
The CJC Report included draft guidance at appendices 1-6 which they have encouraged people to trial. These include guides for court staff and legal professionals on SRLs, a guide for the SRL and what they can expect, and a McKenzie friend code of conduct.
The Law Society
The Law Society has published guidance for solicitors on “Litigants in person”, dated 19 April 2012.
Access to Justice Foundation
They aim to improve access to justice for the most vulnerable in society. They do this by raising funds and distributing them to organisations that support those who need legal help but cannot afford it.
The Foundation receives pro bono costs awarded in cases where the lawyers for the winning party were acting for free; and unclaimed client account balances from law firms. They then distribute those funds to Legal Support Trusts, to national pro bono organisations, and to strategic projects. The Legal Support Trusts in turn distribute funds to local advice agencies and law centres.
Midlands Legal Support Trust
The Midland Legal Support Trust has been established to give financial and other support to charities and advice agencies in the Midlands that provide free legal advice. The aim of the Trust is to enhance the availability of access to these services in the Midlands by raising funds, principally through an annual 10k legal walk.
Civil Legal Advice – Legal Aid
» Legal Aid
Legal aid can help meet the costs of legal advice, family mediation and representation in a court or tribunal.
» Civil Legal Advice (CLA)
You might be able to get free and confidential advice from Civil Legal Advice (CLA) as part of legal aid.
You can get help from CLA for problems including:
- debt, if your home is at risk
- housing, eg if you’re homeless or at risk of being evicted
- domestic abuse
- family issues, eg family mediation or if your child’s being taken into care
- special education needs
Telephone: 0345 345 4 345
Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 12:30pm