UK Pro Bono Lawyers
Free legal advice and representation is available to those who are in dire financial need and cannot afford to hire legal professionals to help them in their cases.
Various UK law firms and law schools have been celebrating a “Pro Bono” Week since 2002 to persuade UK solicitors to offer free services and promote responsiveness to pro bono service. The concept follows that of national charity. However, this time is applies to UK lawyers and law students. The goal is to encourage and support them in undertaking legal pro bono work and serve as clearing house for pro bono casework. The public and community organisations may apply for the free legal advice and mediation.
It is meant for people who have no financial means to pay for the services of solicitors and are not eligible for legal aid. This means that if you are not entitled to free legal aid, it is a possibility to arrange for a UK solicitor to represent you as part of pro bono work. This is voluntary work by the lawyer without charging any fee. It is carried out by many solicitors as community service to the community and make sure that justice is given to the less fortunate citizens.
There are several circumstances when you may be able to obtain pro bono services for free:
- You have been indicted for a serious offense and you do not have enough finances to hire your own lawyer. It is your constitutional right to be represented by an attorney at government expense.
- For civil cases, you may be given free legal advice and assistance if you meet the financial eligibility requirements. This privilege can also be given if your case is covered under the legal aid system. If you do not conform to this criterion, you are required to pay a minimal contribution for the legal advice.
- For criminal cases, legal advice and representation is free to everyone in the police station. In the magistrate’s court, advice and representation by lawyers in the UK is free if the case is deemed as relatively severe. However, it is possible that you will be asked to contribute a specific amount if your case moves on to the Crown Court.
- In the case of personal injury, a UK lawyer may agree to represent you on a “contingency fee” arrangement. Although the services are not totally free, you will be mandated to pay the lawyer’s fee only when the settlement is decided in your favor and the other party pays you the amount agreed upon. The lawyer gets the percentage but the other costs like fees for filing and court reporters will be to your account.
The Commission for Legal Services is totally responsible for Community Legal Services. This is for non-criminal or civil cases. The Criminal Defense Service extends fund support for legal advice and representation for individuals who have been accused of felony. This type of service comes only from UK solicitors or advice agencies contracted by the Legal Services Commission. These lawyers have been subjected to background checks if they have built a good track record and are eligible to provide such services.