LawWorks InfoExchange: Citizens Advice and pro bono clinics

The May InfoExchange session focused on Citizens Advice, giving an overview of the organisation, locally and nationally, and the partnership opportunities for pro bono clinics

The May Information Exchange explored the many and various opportunities for pro bono clinics to work with Citizens Advice.

Our main speaker, James Sandbach, gave an overview of Citizens Advice at national level and explained how it supports a network of 259 local advice agencies, each of which are set up as independent legal charities. James went on to describe resources available to their network and to the general public and spoke of the current unprecedented demand for their services across the country. Having defined ‘pro bono’ and the importance of following the ‘Pro Bono Protocol’ James set out the business case for lawyers getting involved in this work and the many ways a partnership between local Citizen Advice and the legal sector can work.

To better understand how these partnerships work in practice, we heard from several speakers from across the Citizens Advice service. Rebecca Scott, RCJ Advice explained how they manage and supervise a legal team working across three London offices. Mhairi Laker-Jones, Harlow CA, spoke about how free legal advice is integrated as part of their core services, and only available due to the good will of the volunteer lawyers involved. The future sustainability of this service is at risk and dependent on funding. Clare Cutlet, St Albans Citizens Advice, reiterated the fact that the infrastructure - resources, people and admin support are vital to the smooth operation of a sound pro bono service.

Finally, we heard from Amanda Crutchley, Bath Spa University. Amanda described the fledgling clinic she runs which is a relatively new collaboration between the law school, the local Citizens Advice and a local law firm. The collaboration is necessary, as whilst many might consider Bath an affluent area, there are large pockets of deprivation in the wider community where unmet legal need is great, particularly as many local law firms no longer offer legal aid. 



Year of Publication

Type of Resource

Date of publication

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Date last reviewed

Thursday, June 1, 2023