We recognise that in the current climate it is necessary to provide help with access to justice. We have developed strong links to organisations that provide free representation, including charities and CABs.
Many of our barristers provide their services for free in order to help the vulnerable.
Bar Pro Bono Unit
The Bar Pro Bono Unit is a charity which helps to find pro bono (free) legal assistance from volunteer barristers for those who cannot afford to pay. At Hardwicke, we recognise the important role the Bar Pro Bono Unit (BPBU) plays within the Bar community and have developed ways to foster our relationship with the BPBU and support the fantastic work it is doing.
Most recently, we have piloted an exchange programme whereby members of our Practice Management Team and BPBU staff have spent time on day secondments at each other's offices. This has been a valuable exercise for our team in gaining an insight into the kind of work the BPBU carries out and for those at the BPBU to gain exposure to working in a chambers environment.
Annabelle Lock, former Practice Manager in our Property & Private Client Division described her time at the BPBU:
"I found my placement at the Bar Pro Bono Unit extremely interesting and it gave me a great insight into the workings of a legal charity. It was lovely to meet such an approachable team who place a strong emphasis on client care, which is also a key priority to us in chambers. I learnt why strong relationships with chambers are paramount for the Pro Bono process to work, enabling staff to place cases more quickly, making the process more efficient. I enjoyed learning about the numerous success stories, which make their job worthwhile, and gained a clearer understanding of the work the BPBU carries out. I hope we can continue to find ways to work together and strengthen our relationship in the future."
Free Representation Unit (FRU)
We also work with FRU, an organisation that provides legal advice, case preparation and advocacy in tribunal cases for those who could not otherwise obtain legal support.
Personal Support Unit (PSU)
The PSU provides practical and emotional support to people who are representing themselves in court.
"Hardwicke is delighted to be working in partnership with the PSU to support the key role it plays in supporting vulnerable self-representing litigants at court. We are running an exchange programme in Chambers for stuedent and core volunteers, where members of the Hardwicke practice team and PSU volunteers spend a day on secondment at each other's workplace. This is a valuable exercise for our team in gaining a greater understanding of the work of the PSU, and gives PSU volunteers first-hand experience of working with barristers behind the scenes to prepare cases coming to court."
Joint Head of Chambers, Nigel Jones QC, and his wife Monique, a professional cabaret singer, performed at one of the Friends of the PSU Gala evenings, raising money for the PSU.
Amanda Iling, Chief Executive, Hardwicke
Employment Lawyers Appeals Advice Scheme (ELAAS)
Members of our Employment Team give free advocacy in the Employment Appeal Tribunal as part of the scheme.