Against a backdrop of more people facing legal problems alone, the two charities will explore how closer working can improve the contribution and co-ordination of pro bono advice and representation. The touchstone for options going forward will be the potential for increased effectiveness in supporting volunteering and facilitation of greater access to justice.
Whilst pro bono is not, and should not be seen as, an alternative to legal aid, the legal professions have a proud history of enabling access to justice for those without means. LawWorks and Advocate play a vital role in encouraging and supporting pro bono, and working with others to address barriers to accessing justice.
Discussions are at an early stage, and the two charities will be consulting with the Law Society, the Bar Council, and other stakeholders. Organisations who may be interested in being part of a new formal collaboration will be welcome to contribute to the discussions.
The Chair of LawWorks, Alasdair Douglas, and the Hon Mr Justice Robin Knowles, the Chair of Advocate, said:
"This is a good time to explore how LawWorks and Advocate can build on their achievements and maximise impact going forward. Trustees from the two charities have met to begin the process of exploring options and opportunities for closer working. We feel it important to be open about this process, as we are keen to invite ideas and contributions.”
Notes for editors:
For further information contact:
Martin Barnes, Chief Executive, LawWorks: [email protected]
Mary Dobson, Head of Fundraising and Communications, Advocate: [email protected]
- Advocate (the new name for the Bar Pro Bono Unit) is the pro bono charity of the Bar and receives applications from people across England and Wales seeking legal help. The charity matches eligible cases with barristers who have volunteered their free time to Advocate. Currently, 25% of the Bar are pre-registered to take pro bono cases via the charity. Advocate’s website is at: https://weareadvocate.org.uk/
- LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group) promotes, supports and facilitates pro bono legal services that extend access to the law for individuals and communities in need and the organisations that support them. The charity supports a network of over 240 independent pro bono clinics across England and Wales, connects smaller charities with pro bono legal advice, and supports more-in depth pro bono casework and representation through bespoke training and supervision. The LawWorks website is at: www.lawworks.org.uk
- The charities already collaborate on a number of joint fundraising initiatives throughout the year, including the Law School Challenge, which has this year seen 19 teams from universities across the country register to take part, and a fundraising carol concert, which takes place this year on Tuesday 18th December at Temple Church. Tickets are available at https://templechurchchristmas.eventbrite.com