This guidance explains how you maybe able to get a lawyer to come with you to your court hearing and speak for you for free.

The Bar Pro Bono Unit can help find you a barrister who can provide you with free  advice or representation at court anywhere in England and Wales. They can help with any legal issue as long as you are not eligible for legal aid and don't have enough money to pay for legal help. However, they will not accept new applications from 7 Feb - 1 March 2018. It may take up to 4 weeks for them to process applications throughout March so if you have a deadline earlier than 1 April 2018 we suggest you seek help elsewhere.

Normally to access the service, you need someone from an advice agency (such as a CAB or Law Centre), or a MP or practising lawyer to refer you. You need to send a completed application form (on paper, not email) at least three weeks before the hearing or deadline for the piece of work you want help with. You can find information about how to apply here: Bar Pro Bono Unit - do you need help?

If the casework team do not think that they have enough information in the application, they will ask you to supply more. Once the casework team is satisfied that they have enough information, the casework team will send your application to a senior barrister. The senior barrister’s job is to determine whether the Unit should find you a barrister. If they decide that the Unit should find you a barrister, the casework team will start looking for a barrister to help you. Because they rely on volunteers, they cannot guarantee to find someone to help you, but they will do their best.

The Bar Pro Bono Unit finds barristers to assist you with a particular task in your case. So if your application is successful, you will receive help to do a specific task. After that, if you need further help you can apply again, providing at least three weeks' notice. 

If you have not found a service that can help you see our Help Directory or go back to the Going to the family court section.  

January 2017


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