Honorary Counsel service

The Honorary Counsel service provides long-term free legal support to small not-for-profit organisations.

The aim of the service is to help small and medium-sized not-for-profit organisations identify potential legal issues before they arise and become more self-sufficient in relation to legal matters.

LawWorks does this by matching a not-for-profit organisation and a volunteer solicitor (the “Honorary Counsel”), who will work together on a long-term basis to proactively identify and prevent legal issues.  In our experience identifying and dealing with these early on can save not-for-profit organisations valuable time and resources, which can then be better spent on delivering services to their beneficiaries instead.

What it involves

The Honorary Counsel will:

  1. Carry out a basic review of the not-for-profit organisation’s main documents to identify obvious gaps or general issues to be aware of;
  1. Be an initial point of contact for general legal queries;
  1. Identify when further legal advice (or non-legal advice) would be needed and, where appropriate, refer the matter on; and
  1. Help the organisation to become more self-sufficient in identifying potential legal issues in the future.

The engagement lasts for a minimum of six months and can last up to two years (though matched parties are very welcome to maintain the engagement beyond this timeframe should they both want to).

Which documents might the Honorary Counsel review?

In the past, not-for-profits who have used the Honorary Counsel service have asked their advisors to, amongst other things:

  • Review the memorandum and articles of association;
  • Review template employment contracts;
  • Review internal policies;
  • Review leases and licences; and
  • Advise on potential disputes. 

Who is eligible?

You will be eligible for our help if:

  1. You are a small or medium-sized not-for-profit organisation in England and Wales that has a public or community benefit. 
  2. The not-for-profit organisation cannot pay for legal advice, or would struggle to pay. Please note that we will require documentary evidence to demonstrate this.  
  3. You agree to our terms of service.These include being responsive and providing information in a timely way.  
  4. We are able to help with the request. Due to policy reasons and also the types of matters our volunteers are willing to assist with, there are unfortunately some occasions when we cannot help.

You must read our eligibility criteria in full before applying to LawWorks.

How to apply

Applying for help is simple. Once you have read our eligibility criteria, if you believe you meet the requirements you can click the button below to begin the process of applying for Honorary Counsel.

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After receiving your application we will work with you to gather any more relevant information and see how we can help.


Contact us

For capacity reasons we are unable to respond to email queries regarding eligibility.  If you are not certain if your organisation qualifies for free legal assistance please apply and we will work with you to determine your eligibility.

If you have any other questions about the Not-for-Profits Programme, you can email us at: nfp@lawworks.org.uk