Pro bono

Many barristers devote their time to pro bono work by:

  • providing legal advice or representation for free to those in need
  • volunteering their skills in another capacity e.g. careers advice in school
  • acting as a trustee or even coaching teams of students for mock trial competitions

What pro bono advice and representation does and doesn't do

Pro bono work is intended to help people who aren't eligible for state-funded legal assistance. It helps prevent some people from falling through the holes in the legal aid safety net.

It is not a substitute for legal aid; there is wide support within the legal profession for an increase in legal aid provision for those in need.

Pro bono work does not undermine the basic and essential statutory provision.

Barristers: are you considering pro bono work?

To join 4,500 barristers who volunteer with Advocate, the pro bono charity of the Bar, fill in the registration form to join the panel.

Barristers (in chambers and employed) can sign up from second six all the way to KC. Pick cases that suit your interests and expand your knowledge and skillset, or take work in a new practice area.

Pro Bono Guide for Pupils and Supervisors

Guidance for pupils and supervisors for providing pupils with pro bono experience.


Are you a member of the public looking for pro bono legal support?

We cannot assist with requests for pro bono services from members of the public, but we can advise that you:

  • read the 'Guide to Pro Bono: free legal advice in England and Wales'
  • contact the Advocate charity
  • contact the Free Representation Unit (FRU)
Guide to Pro Bono: free legal advice in England and Wales

Published by the Bar Council in partnership with the Law Society and CILEx, this guide provides advice about how to obtain or provide free legal support in England and Wales. The advice in this guide is designed for individuals, advisors, charities and lawyers.

Contact the Advocate charity to find free legal assistance

Advocate finds free legal assistance from volunteer barristers. Visit Advocate's website to find out if a volunteer barrister may be available, or see their signposting to other sources of help.

Free Representation Unit (FRU)

For employment tribunals, benefit appeals, and criminal injury compensation, FRU provides free legal representation for members of the public based in London, the South East and Nottingham. Referral must be via an agency.