As the number of family law cases Advocate receives has steadily increased over the past year, in Pro Bono Week 2023, we introduced a target to place 50 family cases by 6th December 2023.

50 family cases website graphic

In 2022, nearly 40% of applications to us were requests for help with family cases. In 2023, we have received over 800 requests for help in family law alone. We are anticipating that this will increase in 2024 due the continuing cost-of-living crisis.  

We receive a wide range of applications for help in family cases. These range from allegations of serious domestic abuse and child abuse, child abduction cases, child relocation cases, intervenor cases, sperm donor responsibility, contact cases and many other areas of family law. Sometimes our applicants are the only unrepresented party, leading to them feeling increasingly desperate and isolated.

Applicants are extremely grateful for the amazing work our volunteer barristers provide. You can read stories about previous cases our volunteers have assisted on here.

Louise Verroken-Jones, Pro Bono Champion at 1GC Family Law, played an instrumental role in driving this ambition forward by calling on the Family Bar to help us place 50 family cases within a month. In her statement on why she helped us launch this campaign, Louise said:

"The basis of the project was to both spotlight some of the family law cases that Advocate has, and to show to as many practitioners as possible that pro bono work is such an accessible aspect to add to your practice. Advocate are ready, willing and able to make this work as straightforward as it can be, and the clients looking for our support are always incredibly grateful.

As and until there is wider change, the next best thing the legal system can do is really pull together. With only a few simple words of advice, help with a position statement, or the starting of some cross examination questions, we can attempt to ease the burden. This is the beauty of pro bono work!"


We are delighted to say that we managed to place 50 cases, thanks to the dedication of all the volunteer barristers who stepped up to help.

We still have a number of family law cases available - please sign up to our panel of volunteers to receive a list of the family cases we have available on our barristers' portal

Court of Protection Scheme

Alongside our target to place 50 Family Cases, we also launched our new Court of Protection Scheme (CoP). The Scheme assists Litigants in Person with cases in the Court of Protection that would benefit from more specialist assistance, and to subsequently provide that assistance through the pool of specialist volunteer barristers signed up to assist through the Scheme. Through the Scheme, volunteers may be asked to provide a variety of assistance, including advising applicants on documentation required through SAR’s, initial merits assessments, advice on limitation with a view to assist obtaining legal aid or a CFA, drafting of documentation, or representation at relevant hearings.

The Scheme not only provides a route by which we hope many deserving applicants may now access pro bono assistance but, in doing so, it also provides a fantastic opportunity for juniors in particular to build on experience dealing with CoP and CoP adjacent cases.

The Scheme has been enthusiastically spearheaded by Ed Lamb, at Deka Chambers, who will kindly be leading the review of cases through the Scheme.

Ed spoke at the Scheme’s launch, as part of the Family Bar Pro Bono Week event hosted at 1GC Family Law on 8th November 2023.

At the event, Ed said:  "We launched this Scheme because we saw a huge increase in cases worthy of representation but were hampered by paper work…some applicants are being held back by issues ranging from mental health to learning difficulties…The issues in these cases are very familiar… you just need to apply a degree of humanity in the first instance, and really work out what the applicant is trying to achieve in the case…specialism is not required, just humanity and a commitment to helping others."

Contact our schemes caseworker, Jessica to find out more.