“Pro bono” refers to when volunteer lawyers provide legal advice or representation free of charge to those unable to afford it.
Lawyers across the UK provide their professional help for free to those in need to an unparalleled extent, helping ensure access to justice for the most disadvantaged people in society. Many charities and community groups also rely on lawyers who provide pro bono help.
However, it is important to state that pro bono legal services are not, nor can they ever be, a substitute for a properly funded system of legal aid.
Pro Bono Week supports the definition of pro bono contained within the joint pro bono protocol. The protocol promotes and supports high standards of pro bono work. It’s designed to make sure everyone is clear about what pro bono is and the standard to which it should be done. It is endorsed by the Law Society of England and Wales, the Attorney General’s Pro Bono Coordinating Committee, the Bar Council of England and Wales and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. You can read the full protocol on the LawWorks website.
For more information on how to obtain pro bono help in England & Wales and Scotland, see the Guide to Pro Bono & Other Free Advice.