Skip to main content

Barristers and the Wider Community

The Inn encourages all members in practice, at whatever level, to get involved in pro bono work. It is a very important public service and reminds barristers that they are practising law to help people. Such assistance is sorely needed in areas where Legal Aid is not available, where litigants in person can find the experience of conducting litigation and appearing in a court or Tribunal simply overwhelming.

Pro bono work can also afford an opportunity to gain more court experience, develop one’s advocacy skills and practice in an area of law that is not one’s usual focus.  It can lead to collaboration, and often gives barristers the chance to work with other lawyers they may not otherwise know, thereby creating new relationships and cross-fertilisation opportunities in the future. It also helps members build networks and can often lead to business development. Most find it an extremely rewarding experience. It can provide a sense of self-fulfilment and make people feel re-energized and recommitted to the law.

With young barristers, pro bono work builds their skills by helping them gain experience, particularly in circumstances where they are either not often in court or often led. Having responsibility for their own cases will help to build their skill sets. Tapping into younger barristers’ energy and desire to help others is a win-win. 

If you would like to get involved in pro bono work, we recommend getting in touch with one of the many organisations listed below. They are all, always grateful for volunteers, as are the judges before whom pro bono advocates appear!

Advocate

www.weareadvocate.org.uk

Advocate is the Bar’s national charity that makes it possible for barristers to balance a dedicated practice with making a significant contribution to the community.

Read more about Advocate's work, the people they help and the stories of those barristers who help including Middle Templars Brie Stevens-Hoare QC, Anthony Eskander, Malvika Jaganmohan & Deborah Tompkinson.

Bail For Immigration Detainees

www.biduk.org

Bail for Immigration Detainees is an independent charity that exists to challenge immigration detention in the UK. They provide legal advice and representation to migrants detained in removal centres and prisons to help them secure their release, alongside research and policy advocacy to effect change.

Read about BiD's work, the people they help and how to volunteer

.

CLIPS (Chancery Litigants In Person Scheme)

www.chba.org.uk

The Chancery Bar Association launched the Chancery Bar Litigant in Person Support Scheme (“CLIPS”) in 2013. It aims to provide “on the day” advice and representation for litigants in person in the Interim Applications Court.  The scheme is intended to assist litigants in presenting their cases to the court, while at the same time assisting the Interim Applications Judge to serve the interests of justice. In this way, members of the Association can contribute to the Bar’s efforts to ensure that access to justice is not hampered by an individual’s financial means.

Find out more about how you can help The Chancery Bar Association's work.

Commercial Court and London Circuit Commercial Court Pro Bono Scheme

www.combar.com

This scheme gives good opportunities for advocacy before grateful judges. Joining the list does not itself involve a commitment to take on any cases.  The CLIPS scheme in the Chancery Division is similar to the Commercial Court and London Central Commercial Court scheme, but the latter differs in important respects: it offers an opportunity to appear in hearings that may be somewhat more substantial than is common in the Chancery Division Applications Court, with papers provided in advance (albeit potentially at short notice) having been vetted by a Combar panel.  There are therefore good reasons to offer your time to both schemes.

Find out more about Combar's work and how you can help.

 

Court 37 Interim Applications Scheme

www.rcjadvice.org.uk

The Interim Applications Court (known as 'Court 37') deals with applications for orders pending the final trial of a case in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court at the Royal Courts of Justice - for example, for an injunction preventing the disclosure of confidential information, working for a rival employer, the disposal of money or property (a 'freezing order') or for an order requiring documentary disclosure by another party.  Contact e-mail: QBInterimAppCrt@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk.

Find out more about their work and how you can help and make a difference

ELAAS (Employment Law Appeal Advice Scheme)

www.elba.org.uk/elaas

The ELAAS scheme provides pro bono representation at some preliminary hearings in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. ELAAS is coordinated and managed by the Employment Appeal Tribunal, with input from the ELBA Committee on behalf of ELAAS representatives (barristers and solicitors) who volunteer their services. 

ELIPS (Employment Tribunal Litigant in Person Support Scheme)

www.elaweb.org.uk

The Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) is an apolitical organisation representing the views and interests of just over 6,000 specialist, qualified employment lawyers in the UK. Since its inception in 1992, ELA has become the voice of authority in employment law.  ELA’s uniqueness rests in the depth and wealth of knowledge of its diverse membership, and its neutrality on political issues.

Find out more about ELA's pro bono support and how you can can volunteer. Watch their video on Short Term Advocacy presented by Sean Jones QC.

The Freedom Law Clinic

www.freedomlawclinic.org

The Freedom Law Clinic is a unique pro bono project helping students to gain unparalleled access to the world of criminal defence work by actively assisting our clients with wrongful conviction applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

FRU (Free Representation Unit)

www.thefru.org.uk

The Free Representation Unit (FRU) is a charity that provides legal advice, case preparation and advocacy in employment, social security, and some criminal injury compensation tribunal cases. Their clients could not otherwise obtain legal support for want of personal means and public funding. To provide this service they train volunteer law students and legal professionals in the early stages of their career in the skills required to give confident and competent support for the rights of others. Volunteers give their time for free, so whilst the FRU try to cover as many cases as possible, they cannot always guarantee representation. You can find out about how to become a representative by visiting the Volunteers section of their website. 

Find out more about The Free Representation Unit and how you can volunteer.

You can listen to David Abbott, CEO of the Free Representation Unit, talking to Daniel Barnett on the LBC Legal Hour, discussing what the FRU does, how volunteers are trained and how to clients can contact FRU.

 

National Pro Bono Centre

www.nationalprobonocentre.org.uk

The National Pro Bono Centre was established in 2010 with the aim of bringing together charities dedicated to the provision of pro bono legal services and access to justice. It supports cross-sector initiatives such as the Network for Justice and Pro Bono Week and hosts a volunteer portal for free legal advice charities looking for lawyers to volunteer. See current volunteering opportunities online.

Pro Bono Connect

www.probonoconnect.co.uk

Pro Bono Connect helps barristers and solicitors collaborate on pro bono cases. They match barristers and solicitors acting pro bono on civil matters for individuals, charities and community groups who cannot afford legal advice or representation.

Find out about the work of Pro Bono Connect and read some of their case stories, including one by Middle Templar Anne Boase.