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About the Free Legal Services Unit

The Free Legal Services Unit

The Unit receives applications for assistance through advice agencies. The Unit aims to help in cases where the applicant cannot afford to pay for the assistance sought or obtain public funding, has a meritorious case, and needs the help that counsel can provide.

Applications are reviewed by one of a number of registered counsel, and the Unit then makes a decision as to whether or not to try to find a volunteer advocate to assist.

If the decision is that help should be given, the caseworkers try to find a volunteer of the  appropriate level of experience to take on the piece of work required. Cases are only ever given help on a step by step basis, and any further work required will need a re-review of the file by the Unit to consider the request in light of any advice or representation already provided.

If the decision is that help cannot be given, the Unit will write to confirm that decision, giving a brief reason why.

The Unit has a coordinator to organise the large panel of volunteers who assist on cases.

The co-ordinator is unable to give legal advice.

The Unit works closely in partnership with the voluntary sector and with other pro bono providers.