Health Check and initial advice
The Honorary Counsel scheme matches small not-for-profit organisations with volunteer lawyers on a longer-term basis, to carry out Health Checks and to give initial advice when needed.
How it works
The Honorary Counsel will:
- carry out a high level Health Check of the organisation’s main documents to identify obvious gaps or general issues to be aware of to help prevent problems from arising at a later stage;
- be a point of contact for initial, brief advice about potential legal issues that arise – a first port of call to give some direction on how issues might be dealt with; and
- identify when further specialist legal advice would be needed and, where appropriate, be able to refer larger pieces of work (such as detailed reviews/drafting of documents) to the LawWorks free casework service.
At this stage, unfortunately the scheme does not include charity law help. Where specific charity law matters arise, Honorary Counsel can recommend the organisation seeks specialist advice.
How to apply
Applying for the Honorary Counsel scheme is simple:
- Check you are eligible. Click here.
- If you are eligible, complete our online application form which can be found here. N.B In the section asking about the legal advice you are seeking, please write ‘Honorary Counsel’.
- Email us your latest accounts.
- We will then work with you to check your eligibility and gather relevant documents and information.
What happens once an application is approved?
If an application is approved, we will try to match your organisation with your own Honorary Counsel as soon as possible. This can be within a few weeks but it can sometimes take longer.
Specific legal assistance needed
The Honorary Counsel scheme is for Health Checks and initial brief advice as problems arise. If you need more in depth specialist advice about a specific legal issue you are facing now (such as drafting a contract, reviewing a lease, updating a constitution/articles, or clarifying rights in a commercial dispute), you should apply for our free legal assistance project instead. Find out more here.
Our volunteers can advise on intellectual property, employment, property, tax, commercial/contract, insurance, insolvency, data protection, defamation, and company/charity law. For more information click here.
Who is eligible?
You will be eligible for the Honorary Counsel scheme if:
- You are a small not-for-profit organisation focussed on helping people who are in need in England and Wales.
- Your not-for-profit organisation cannot pay for legal advice, or would struggle to pay. We will ask about the organisation’s ability to pay for legal advice and look at the most recent accounts.
- You agree to our terms of service. These include being responsive and engaging with your Honorary Counsel and our evaluation processes.
For more information on our eligibility criteria and for some examples of not-for-profit organisations we give priority to, click here.
If you would like to apply for the Honorary Counsel scheme please complete our online application form which can be found here.
N.B In the section asking about the legal advice you are seeking, please write ‘Honorary Counsel’.
Email us a copy of your most recent accounts (or, if not available, a business plan showing projected annual income). Please email the documents to: [email protected] or alternatively upload your accounts to the application form.
If you have any questions about the Not-For-Profits Programme, you can email us at [email protected]