About 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 for the work. Cases are given help on a step by step basis, and any further work required will need a re-review by the Unit.
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 number 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.