Advocate is thrilled to announce that, thanks to an incredible show of support from the Bar, it placed a record-breaking 1,412 pieces of pro bono work with barristers in 2020.

Despite barristers suffering terrible upheaval due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 470 people signed up to the Advocate panel to help vulnerable applicants receive advice, drafting and representation when they needed it most. This is an impressive 86% increase on last year and their enthusiasm enabled us to place almost twice as many cases than in 2019. Lots of the new panel members were young and pupil barristers, many taking multiple pieces of work and contributing far more than the requested commitment of three days a year.

In addition to the core service, hundreds of hours were dedicated to advice and representation through our partner schemes, including CLIPS and ELIPS. Please read some of our remarkable case studies to find out the many ways that the Bar can help people in need.

“Many thanks for being willing to take on my case and allowing the barrister to not only advise me but also to represent me in court. I still cannot quite believe that the whole nightmare of the last two and a half years has gone away” – Advocate applicant

Rebecca Wilkie, Advocate’s CEO said: “This wonderful news comes at the start of Advocate’s 25th anniversary year, during which we want to celebrate the Bar’s pro bono commitment, strengthen our casework service, raise funds to sustain us in a very difficult environment and, of course, help even more people to navigate a complex and overwhelming legal system. We are honoured to have so much magnificent support.”

Derek Sweeting QC, Chair of the Bar, said: “The Bar’s record-breaking dedication to providing free legal advice to the most vulnerable is a beacon of light in the most challenging of times. The fact that many providing this support in 2020 were young barristers, who have been particularly hard hit by the effects of the pandemic, is a real testament to the spirit of our profession. While this spirit should not provide an excuse for Government to rely on pro bono work as a replacement for a properly funded justice system, the Bar’s priority is clear: access to justice for the public. I am immensely grateful to all barristers that give their time to pro bono.”