Does my organisation need the help of 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 a barrister to assist you directly, due to our direct access licence. When they do so, they do the work that barristers (not solicitors) 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 the organisaion requires further assistance you will need to contact us again, providing at least three weeks' notice.

Is our case suitable for help?

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 the organisation is based abroad, but the case is in either England or Wales, please contact us directly - details here

If the organisations can get public funding (legal aid) for the case, we will not be able to help.

  • Please click here to find out if the organisations can get public funding. Please note that public funding for organisations is extremely rare.

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

  • There are no exceptions to this, unless it involves loss of liberty or loss of children. Please click here if you think the organisation's case should be an exception.

How do we apply?

Organisations may apply to the Unit directly and so have a separate application form. 

You or someone in the organisation will need to complete this form and post it to us along with copies of the case documents.

PLEASE NOTE
If you have any problems with the form or do not have the information we have requested please contact one of our Caseworkers on 020 7092 3960.

 

Please click here for an Organisation Application form

 

Click here for a list of documents to include

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

 

What happens once we apply to you?

1. Applying to the Unit

When we receive the 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 to say that we have received the application and to request any further information if necessary.

Assistance is not guaranteed at this stage

       

 2. Deciding whether to accept the 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 the case
  • The financial resources of the organisation
  • The amount of time it will take to help. We cannot usually assist where a piece of work will take more than three days, including preparation.

We will write to you  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 the case is accepted, the Unit will then commence searching fo 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

Once a volunteer barrister has looked at the 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, but you don't need to complete another application form, unless it is a different case.