What is the #DonateToAdvocate campaign?

Previously known as #ProBono35, it is the time of year that we encourage barristers to donate a minimum of £35 or more to Advocate (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit) when you renew your practising certificate through the Bar Council's MyBar portal.

We understand that some sections of the Bar are struggling, but we encourage those who can afford it to donate because it makes up a huge part of our funding. Without it, we simply would not exist.

Why should I donate to Advocate?

Barristers have told us they believe in giving back to society using their skills. We aim to provide a platform to make it easy for you to do this and help those most at need in society.

We are not a substitute for Legal Aid and do not try to be, but there are always people who fall through the cracks and need help navigating the legal system. We hope to not only assist them at a stressful time in their lives, but also to provide barristers with rewarding experiences that will be useful at all stages of their careers.

We recognise that not all barristers want to give their time to volunteering, so a financial donation enables us to provide a supportive casework service to those who do.

How do I donate?

You don’t have to do anything! The donation box is pre-ticked with a minimum of £35. If you want to give more you can, and if you also complete your address, we can claim gift aid from HMRC, making your donation worth an additional 25% at no cost to you.

Alternatively, you can donate at any time of year and in any amount here.

Why do barristers contribute to us annually?

We were set up in 1996 by barristers, for barristers. Lord Goldsmith QC said he founded us to “build on the existing strong and proud tradition of the Bar providing its services free to those who need help and advice”.

Barristers have told us they believe in the ethos of the charity and its importance in providing access to justice for the most vulnerable. If you're still unsure, read stories about our applicants and hear from volunteer barristers about why it's such great professional experience.

Why do we ask you to donate as well as volunteer?

We are your charity and you know us best. Some people want to donate their time and others prefer to donate financially. Many do both and we are incredibly grateful.

The financial help you provide will keep us going for another year and allow us to expand our reach to even more people in need. We received 17 requests for help every working day of 2021 and we expect that to increase in 2022.

Your support has real impact. One of our applicants told us:

“I feel like a weight has been lifted from me now as I have been struggling mentally and was on the verge of giving it all up! I am now feeling a lot better in myself and optimistic that I may get some justice.”

What does it mean for Advocate?

When you join together with your peers to donate £35 each, you contribute massively to our running costs. Many people don’t realise that a £35 donation can amount to so much. This simple donation from the Bar allows us to fund six caseworkers and three supporting administrators, all with a passion for helping people in need.

Join this year's campaign

As the number of individuals applying to Advocate for legal assistance continues to increase, we ask you to remember this chance you have to help people in need get access to justice, and to #DonatetoAdvocate when you renew your practising certificate.

If you're on Twitter, help us remind everyone else, and show your support with a tweet. Make it your own by starting "I #DonateToAdvocate because...." and tag us @weareadvocate to inspire others to keep the box ticked! Thank you.