Do I need a barrister?

Barristers can:

  • Represent you in any court/tribunal
  • Give legal advice in a meeting
  • Give legal advice in writing
  • Draft documents such as skeleton arguments

 Barristers cannot:

  • Prepare a case and paperwork for the court/tribunal
  • Lodge papers at the court/tribunal for you
  • Provide administrative back up for you
  • Write letters on your behalf

Normally barristers can only deal with clients through a solicitor. A solicitor's role is different to that of a barrister. However, the Bar Pro Bono Unit can arrange for barrister to assist you directly, due to our direct access licence. When they do so, they do the work that a barrister (not solicitor) would usually do.

Please Note

We authorise barristers to assist on a step-by-step basis, so if your application is successful we only authorise a specific piece of work to be done by the barrister. After that, if you require further assistance you will need to contact us again, providing at least three weeks' notice.

Is my case suitable for assistance?

The Bar Pro Bono Unit will consider applications in any area of law, in any area of England and Wales.

  • If your case is in Scotland please see here or in Northern Ireland see here
  • If you live abroad, but your case is in either England or Wales, please contact us directly

 

If you are eligible for public funding (legal aid) for your case, we will not be able to help.

  • Please click here to find out if you can get public funding

 

We cannot help in cases unless we receive your application at least three weeks notice before your hearing date or deadline.

How do I apply?

Seasonal Closure

Most barristers take their holidays over the Christmas period.  This means that we experience delays in processing applications for assistance in the period between now and mid-January due to the reduced availability of both our reviewers and volunteer barristers.

Please note that the Bar Pro Bono Unit will be closed from 5pm on 23 December 2016 until 9am on 3 January 2017.

 We will not accept applications received during this time. If you submit an application to us when we are closed, we will not start processing your application until 3 January 2017.

If you have a deadline in early January 2017, please bear this in mind. You may wish to seek assistance from another source.

- See more at: http://www.barprobono.org.uk/contact_us.html#sthash.egHfnUPm.dpuf

 

Referral Agencies

We cannot accept applications from individuals unless they are are referred to us by an advice agency or a lawyer (solicitor or barrister).

An example of an advice agency is a:

For more information on where to find an advice agency, please contact us.

Sometimes the referral agency will choose not to refer your case to the Unit. Neither you nor the Unit can force an agency to refer a case to the Unit.

If the advice agency is unsure as to any of the details of the application process or their involvement, please ask them to contact us directly.

Sometimes the referral agency will choose not to refer your case to the Unit. Neither you nor the Unit can force an agency to refer a case to the Unit.

If the advice agency is unsure as to any of the details of the application process or their involvement please ask them to contact us directly - details here.

- See more at: http://www.barprobono.org.uk/index.php?cID=154&cType=html&content__edit_container=plgslt_Main_Slot_1#sthash.GfVI0ze5.dpuf
please contact us

 

Application Form

You or your referral agency will need to complete our Individual Application Form and return it to the Unit in hard copy along with copies of your case documents. We cannot help in cases unless we receive your application at least three weeks notice before your hearing date or deadline. WE CANNOT ACCEPT APPLICATIONS BY EMAIL OR FAX


Please click here for an

Individual Application Form


If you are unable to open the application form please click here for a pdf version. 

 

Documents to include with your Application

Click here for a list of documents to include with your Application.

Please click on the appropriate link below if your case falls into one these areas:

 

It is not unusual for us to be approached for assistance by both sides in a case.

If so, for confidentiality reasons, you will not be notified. The requests will be dealt by different caseworkers.

 


Seasonal Closure

Most barristers take their holidays over the Christmas period.  This means that we experience delays in processing applications for assistance in the period between now and mid-January due to the reduced availability of both our volunteer barristers.

Please note that the Bar Pro Bono Unit will be closed from 5pm on 23 December 2016 until 9am on 3 January 2017.

 We will not accept applications received during this time. If you submit an application to us when we are closed, we will not start processing your application until 3 January 2017.

If you have a deadline in early January 2017, please bear this in mind. You may wish to seek assistance from another source.

- See more at: http://www.barprobono.org.uk/index.php?cID=24&cType=html&content__edit_container=plgslt_Main_Slot_1#sthash.hf4BkZBB.dpuf

What happens once I apply with you?

1. Applying to the Unit

When we receive your application, the Caseworkers will look through it carefully to see if there is enough information for the Unit to decide whether we can assist.

We will write to you or your referral agency to say that we have received your application and to request any further information if necessary.

Assistance is not guaranteed at this stage

                                          

2. Deciding whether to accept your case

Your application will be reviewed by a senior barrister. He or she will decide whether it is appropriate for the Unit to look for a volunteer barrister.

Factors taken into account include:

  • The legal merit of your case

  • Your financial circumstances

  • The amount of time it will take to help you. We cannot usually assist where a piece of work will take more than three days, including preparation.

We will write to you or your referral agency to tell you the outcome of the review.

Cases are accepted on a step-by-step basis. This means that we can only agree to help you find assistance with one piece of work at a time. If you request representation, the reviewing barrister may recommend that you receive advice from a barrister.

Further assistance may be applied for later.

Assistance is not guaranteed at this stage

                                                                                    

3. Searching for a volunteer barrister

If your case is accepted, the Unit will then commence searching for an appropriate barrister who is willing to provide the assistance that has been authorised by our reviewer.

Assistance is not guaranteed at this stage

                                                                                      

4. A volunteer barrister accepts the case

If a volunteer barrister has looked at your case and decides to assist, the Unit will contact you and put you in touch with him or her. From then on, you should communicate directly with the barrister - the Unit's involvement in your case is complete.

  • The barrister is only authorised to complete the piece of work that has been authorised by the Unit. They cannot do anything more without authorisation from the Unit.

  • If you would like more help from a barrister, you will need request that in writing to the Unit. You don't need to complete another application form, unless it is a different case.