PLE Principles and guidance

Straightforward and clear guidance can be found in this excellent guide written for people who provide or who are thinking about providing public legal education (PLE).

Commissioned by Plenet, the guide identifies five key principles for the delivery of PLE and provides practical examples and suggestions under each heading to help people put the principles into practice.

APPLE - the five principles

Audience - who are you doing it for

Purpose - why are you doing it

Provider - what you should expect of yourself or your organisation

Learning - what the content will be like and how you will deliver it

Evaluation - how you know whether an activity works and how to improve it.


Effective PLE activities are designed with the audience in mind. You need to know your intended audience; the issues they face, their existing knowledge and level of legal capability, the barriers they face, and anything that might prevent them from getting the most out of your activity.


Effective PLE projects are clear on what they intend to achieve; they don’t just inform, they aim to empower individuals and communities and encourage active citizenship.


Effective PLE providers recognise the need for the appropriate expertise, and will often work with intermediaries who are trusted by the audience. PLE activities need to be supported by appropriate organisational policies procedures, and providers need to be clear and open with their audience at all times.

Learning: content, style and delivery

Effective learning depends on appropriate content which is presented in an engaging style and efficiently delivered to its audience.


Evaluation is an essential part of PLE and should be designed into projects from the outset. It is important to assess what works and to share the results of evaluations with other organisations.

The paper suggests that one of the simplest ways to share results is to add evaluation reports and contact details to the Law for Life website.

Read the guide: PLE Principles and guidance (PDF, 580 kb)

Enthusiasm for this project was impressive and Plenet thanks representatives from Advice Plus, AdviceUK, Bar Pro Bono Unit, Citizens Advice, Citizenship Foundation, College of Law, Law Centres Federation, LawWorks, Legal Services Commission and NIACE who all contributed their knowledge, skills and expertise.

The guide written by Ian Ford, Michael Bell Associates Research and Consultancy (MBARC) for Plenet was edited by members of ASA's Advicenow Project and published in May 2010.