17 September 2019

BSB Handbook Explained – Barristers working pro bono

Are you considering doingpro bono work?

You should be aware of the rules around pro bono work and what you are permitted to do.

Self-employed barristers may providepro bonolegal services through a Legal Advice Centre, as provided for in rules rS41-42. Self-employed barristers who are Public Access registered can providepro bonolegal services directly to members of the public, if they comply with the Public Access requirements at rC119-rC131 of the BSB Handbook.

All employed barristers are able to provide legal services directly to members of the public where the legal services are provided free of charge.

You need to ensure that either your personal insurance or the insurance of the body you are providing services through, covers you for the pro bono services you are providing.

You should note that if you are not authorised to conduct litigation you cannot do this in yourpro bonowork. This could have practical implications for clients who will be required to do this work themselves or find other free or affordable assistance.

Giving advice on legal matters free to a friend or relative or acting as unpaid or honorary legal adviser to a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, are not considered to be "legal services" and so anyone can undertake these activities.