Pro Bono Watch

An update from the Pro Bono Unit on its fundraising initiatives and cases requiring counsel across Circuits

£30 initiative funding

I am delighted that over 51% of barristers supported the Unit with a £30 donation at practising certificate renewal time in March and April. This represents almost half of the Unit’s total funding. Thank you so much, once again, for your continued support. It is a testament to the Bar that after only five years this fundraising initiative has become so well established.

So far this year it has allowed the Unit to facilitate 169 barristers to help with 232 matters. This funding enables us to implement much-needed changes to our service to make it as efficient and accessible as possible for volunteer barristers and applicants. We never take your contributions for granted and are developing ways to recognise your continued generosity and support.

If you have donated and not yet completed a ‘Gift Aid’ declaration, please do so: it can be done in seconds at bit.ly/2rqOeW3. Should you wish to make a further contribution, you can join our 150 regular donors by emailing our Head of Fundraising and Communications, Mary Dobson at mdobson@barprobono.org.uk.

London Legal Walk 2017

Over 12,000 lawyers took part in this year’s London Legal Walk on 22 May. Seven hundred teams, including a whopping 89 chambers teams, walked 10km, including on a new river route. At least one team ran the route and got back before the Unit team had even started! We walked with Fountain Court Chambers this year and together we managed to raise over £1,500. Thank you to everyone who fundraised to support us and the Free Representation Unit (FRU).

5RB 11th annual fundraising quiz

Thank you to 5RB for hosting its 11th annual quiz on 27 April in aid of the Unit and FRU at Balls Brothers. The night was a huge success in fundraising terms, although perhaps less so in term of the Unit’s quizzing ability. We have a chance to redeem ourselves at the 12 Kings Bench Walk annual charity quiz later this year.

Employment Lawyers Association Long-term supporter of the Unit, the Employment Lawyers Association celebrated its 25th anniversary on 24 May at the Lancaster London with its annual conference and dinner. Thank you for choosing us to be charity partner and for raising £1,725 in a luxury raffle.

Legal books raising funds

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Two legal books are raising money for the Unit. The Inquest Book, co-edited and authored by members of 1 Crown Office Row, has generated donations of royalties of almost £2,000. Family barrister at St John’s Chambers, Lucy Reed’s The Family Court without a Lawyer (Bath Publishing), donates 5% of sales to us. Thank you for raising £1,000 for us already this year.

New QCs support the Unit

One-third (35 barristers) appointed Silk this year were already affiliated with the Unit and I am overwhelmed that many of the new Silks have since decided to support the Unit and FRU financially on an annual basis. Many have reaffirmed their commitment by offering to become reviewers for the Unit or to take on more pro bono work.

ABC Chambers Solutions Golf Day

The second staging of this popular golf day took place on 12 June at Bishop’s Stortford Golf Club with almost double last year’s attendees. Held in aid of the Unit and the London Legal Support Trust, it was a great opportunity for barristers and solicitors to catch up while upping their golf game and raising £2,000 for access to justice.

Employed Bar Awards

The Bar Council’s inaugural Employed Bar Awards took place at the Tower of London on 30 June. The Unit was delighted to celebrate the achievements of employed barrister friends and grateful to be have been named as the event’s charity beneficiary.

Friends in Law

The Friends in Law scheme recognises chambers who donate to the Unit and FRU at a ceremony hosted by the Chair of the Bar. Already the Unit has seen a number of chambers newly donating to us and we will soon announce this year’s Platinum Friends, and Friends in Law. Please keep an eye on Twitter for updates (@BarProBonoUnit). Fundraising for the London Legal Walk counts towards the contribution.

The Unit is very fortunate to have so many friends and all donations, no matter what size, are welcomed with elation by all staff in the office. We understand that not everyone is in a position to support us financially and that is why your time commitment is recognised with the ringing of a bell in the office when you agree to take on a pro bono case.

Take a pro bono case

Currently there are a number of cases that require counsel for advice or representation at all court levels. Please see above for an overview by your area of law and Circuit (case numbers accurate as of mid-June). ●

How to volunteer

If you are already a panel member, please visit www.tinyurl.com/bpbucases to read more about each case.

If you would like to join the panel, please email Volunteer and Administration Coordinator Stacey Lamb at: slamb@barprobono.org.uk. We always welcome your feedback and you can contact us using the dedicated barrister telephone line on 020 7690 3971 or email: caseworker@barprobono.org.uk.

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