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Over 3,500 solicitors and barristers across England & Wales celebrated in inaugural Pro Bono Recognition List endorsed by Lady Chief Justice

Breaking NewsOver 3,500 solicitors and barristers across England & Wales celebrated in inaugural Pro Bono Recognition List endorsed by Lady Chief Justice

17th June 2024, LONDON – The Attorney General’s Pro Bono Committee is proud to announce the publication of the inaugural Pro Bono Recognition List of England & Wales, with over 3,500  lawyers across England and Wales recognised for their dedication to providing pro bono services.

The Pro Bono Recognition List recognises barristers and solicitors who have given 25 or more hours of pro bono legal assistance over the previous calendar year. This year, the first-ever Recognition List was published and saw a total of 3,760 lawyers recognised; 3,284 of whom were solicitors and 476 of whom were barristers.

The Pro Bono Recognition List shines a light on the individual lawyers at firms and organisations of all sizes who are at the heart of providing pro bono across England and Wales. Published annually, it is open to solicitors and barristers who have dedicated 25 or more hours of pro bono legal assistance in the previous calendar year.

It is supported by its patron The Lady Chief Justice of England & Wales, The Baroness Carr of Walton-on-the-Hill. The Recognition List was set up under the sponsorship of the Attorney General’s Pro Bono Committee, with the support of the Law Society, Bar Council, and all major pro bono legal organisations.

Commenting on the publication of the Recognition List, The Lady Chief Justicesaid: “I welcome the inaugural publication of the Pro Bono Recognition List of England & Wales. The judiciary sees first-hand the importance of pro bono advice and representation in assisting those who might not otherwise receive legal help. I am pleased to recognise and thank all those solicitors and barristers who have undertaken 25 hours or more of pro bono work over the last year. I hope that recognition on the List encourages the legal profession to continue its commitment to providing pro bono help to those in need.”

In a statement of support for the Recognition List, Nick Emmerson, President of the Law Society, said: “The Pro Bono Recognition List highlights the incredible dedication of the lawyers who volunteered their time and expertise to help people who cannot afford legal representation. The generosity of these lawyers ensures justice is not just for the privileged. They offer a lifeline to people with legal issues but without the financial means to address them.

 This list reminds us of the crucial role pro bono plays in our society, filling the gaps left by an overburdened and underfunded legal aid system. An increasing number of individuals find themselves without the necessary support to navigate the legal system. While we celebrate the Pro Bono Recognition List and the dedication of thousands of lawyers, there is an urgent need to strengthen and expand legal aid to ensure that justice, as a fundamental right, is truly accessible to all.”

 Bar Council Chair, Sam Townend KC also celebrated the launch of the Pro Bono Recognition List, saying: “We are delighted that almost 500 barristers have been named on the first Pro Bono Recognition List in England and Wales. It is great that 476 barristers, together with the other legal professionals named, are celebrated for volunteering to help ensure access to justice and towards plugging the gap in legal aid funding.

“The 40% real term reduction in government spending on legal aid on barristers over the past 14 years, unfortunately, means that this work is the only means that thousands have of obtaining professional advice and representation. Congratulations to all those named – thank you for championing justice.”

On behalf of the Attorney General’s Committee, Chair of the Steering Group, Toby Brown added: “Based on the really positive response to this cross-profession collaborative initiative, we are looking forward early next year to announcing how lawyers can submit their names for pro bono work completed during 2024.”

The list of organisations supporting the initiative includes the Access to Justice Foundation, Advocate, Advocates for International Development, The Law Officers, The Bar Council, The Clinical Legal Education Organisation, The In-House Pro Bono Group, The Law Society, LawWorks, The National Pro Bono Centre and TrustLaw.

Where lawyers have undertaken 25 hours or more, The Recognition List recognises their pro bono legal work regardless of how it was undertaken, whether on an ad hoc basis or via a small or large pro bono scheme.

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