Pro bono, a Latin phrase meaning “for the public good,” refers to the provision of legal services on a voluntary, free-of-charge basis to individuals and organisations who cannot afford to pay for legal assistance.
In short, if you cannot afford a lawyer and do not qualify for legal aid, then you may be able to find a pro bono lawyer (solicitor / barrister) or law firm.
The National Pro Bono Centre was established in 2010 with the aim of bringing together charities dedicated to the provision of pro bono legal services and access to justice.
LawWorks is a charity working in England and Wales to connect volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice, who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay and with the not-for-profit organisations that support them.
In the UK, pro bono work is an essential part of the legal profession, with lawyers, solicitors, barristers, and law firms providing their services to those in need.
The concept of pro bono dates back to ancient Rome, where lawyers were expected to offer their services for free to the poor.
The practice was formalized in the US in the early 1900s when lawyers began offering their services to immigrants and the working class.
In the UK, pro bono work has been a part of the legal profession for many years, and its importance has grown significantly in recent years.
There are several types of pro bono work in the UK, including:
- Legal advice clinics: These are typically run by law firms and provide free legal advice to individuals on a wide range of legal issues, including family, housing, employment, and immigration.
- Pro bono cases: Lawyers and barristers may take on pro bono cases, representing clients who cannot afford to pay for legal services. These cases can range from civil litigation, including family law, to criminal defence work.
- Public interest litigation: This involves bringing legal action on behalf of groups or individuals who cannot afford to pay for legal services. Public interest litigation can cover a range of issues, including human rights, environmental law, and social justice.
- Law school clinics: Many law schools in the UK run pro bono clinics, where law students provide legal assistance to individuals and organisations.
- Pro bono work for charities: Lawyers and law firms may provide pro bono services to charities and non-profit organisations, helping them with legal issues such as employment law, contract law, and governance.
Pro bono work is essential in the UK, where legal aid is becoming increasingly restricted.
As the cost of legal services continues to rise, many individuals and organisations cannot afford to pay for legal assistance, leaving them at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing justice. Pro bono work helps to bridge this gap, ensuring that everyone has access to legal services, regardless of their financial situation.
In conclusion, pro bono work is a vital part of the legal profession in the UK, providing free legal services to individuals and organisations who cannot afford to pay for legal assistance.
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