Bar Pro Bono Hub

Many barristers devote their time to pro bono work whether that be providing legal advice or representation for free to those in need, or by volunteering their skills in another capacity such as giving careers advice in schools, acting as a trustee or even coaching a team of students for a mock trial competition. 

The Bar Pro Bono Hub has been created in conjunction with the Bar Pro Bono Committee to showcase pro bono opportunities. 

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What is the Bar doing on Pro Bono?

The Bar Council established a dedicated Committee to support pro bono work in 2016. Details of current members and its terms of reference can be found here. If you want to contact the Committee email us

The Bar Council's Pro Bono Committee is responsible for:

  • Collecting (and communicating) information about the Bar (and individual barrister's) Pro Bono activity

  • Working with partners to support pro bono activity (and tackle any barriers faced by barristers interested in pro bono work)

  • Delivering National Pro Bono Week each year

To achieve these objectives, the Committee works closely with the Bar Pro Bono Unit.

Interested in Volunteering?

There are many ways that barristers can get involved in pro bono work. Click here  to find out what pro bono opportunities there are. If you are aware of a scheme that is not listed or no longer in operation, or if any of the links are broken please email us with the relevant information and we will update the list.

For more information on pro bono, please see the  Guide to Pro Bono: Free Legal Advice in England and Wales (2017) and the Bar in the Community which provides a platform to show case pro bono case studies, advertise pro bono opportunities for those seeking the skills and experience of barristers and for barristers who wish to use their skills and experience to find volunteering opportunities.  

About the Bar Pro Bono Unit

The Bar Pro Bono Unit is the Bar's national charity that makes it possible for barristers to balance a dedicated practice with making a significant contribution to the community.  The Unit matches members of the public who need help with barristers who are willing to donate their time and expertise in deserving cases for those who are unable to obtain legal aid and cannot afford to pay.

The Unit is an application based service which members of the public can access via referral from advise agencies, law centres, or their local MP. Over 3600 barristers including a third of all QCs volunteer with the unit.

Why do pro bono?

Experiences and Case Studies from the Bar

Pro Bono Highlights

1. Awards & Recognition 

Tanya Murshed wins the 2017 Bar Pro Bono Award

Kirsty Brimelow QC awarded Special Commendation for contribution to Human Rights Issues Bar Pro Bono Awards 2017

John Collins wins the 2016 Bar Pro Bono Award

Nine Chambers Recognised for Charity

Journalist thanks Pro Bono Lawyers

Lawyer who helped end death row in Belize picks up 2015 Bar Pro Bono Unit Award

Twelve Chambers Recognised for Charity

Monika Sobiecki wins the 2014 Bar Pro Bono Award

Sarah Hannett wins the 2013 Bar Pro Bono Award

2. Blogs & News

Immigration Detention - Barrister Wins Unlawful Detention Claim acting Pro Bono

Bar Council Insurance Call for Employed Barristers gets go-ahead

2017 Chair's National Pro Bono Week Blog: The Citizen and the State

Guest Blog: Bar Pro Bono Unit Reports to each Chambers for the first time

Guest Blog: Kuki Taylor, Founder of Atlas & The Thinker

Guest Blog: Aidan Seymour-Butler, law student. Is Pro Bono the way forward?

Guest Blog: Founder of Legal Support Trust - Walk for Justice

Bar Pro Bono Unit Chief Executive - Why the Bar's Voluntary Work is so Vital

Bar Pro Bono Unit - Blog Page

3. National Pro Bono Week

Each year (usually in November) the professions come together with partners in Pro Bono to highlight work in this area. Information on NPBW17 is on the National Pro Bono Centre website: http://www.nationalprobonocentre.org.uk/national-pro-bono-week/

Dates for 2018 to be announced shortly. 

4. Legal Walks 

The Bar Council along with others across the profession support the legal walks. For more information go here

How do barristers provide Pro Bono support? 

Barristers provide pro bono support through a number of different routes. Approximately 1 in 5 barristers work through the Bar Pro Bono Unit but the most common route is informally through a solicitor client (37%). Other routes include day schemes such as CLIPS, through legal advise centres and via direct access. 

Through what route do barristers provide pro bono support?

% taking route and range in hours volunteered

Bar Pro Bono Unit

(21%) 1-100 hours pa

Other Schemes e.g. CLIPS etc.

(8%) 2-30 hours pa

Legal Advice Centres

(6%) 1-240 hours pa

Informally through a solicitor

(37.5%) 1-800 hours pa

Direct Access

(18%) 1-400 hours pa

Other

(14%) 2-300 hours pa