Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pro Bono

Since I moved firms three months ago I have been doing a lot more pro bono work. For anyone who does not know what the legal term pro bono means it is simply a latin phrase to say that the work is done for free. Most of my Magistrates Court work is now based in one Magistrates Court, I attend there up to four days out of the week, and as a frequent visitor I have started to recognise many of the regular faces.

The firm I currently work for has a policy that provided we are attending at the Magistrates Court anyway if there are Clients who require assistance but their case cannot be legally aided we should try to help them and usually will represent them in Court on a pro bono basis. Last week there was a particular day when I think I did more cases on a pro bono basis than I did under the terms of a representation order (the current technical phrase for a legal aid order).

Criminal defence solicitors often find themselves working with people who have fallen to the bottom of society's social order. Many people who are convicted in this country have mental health problems and low IQs. As such many Clients look to us criminal solicitors to sort out their problems even when they know that we are working for free. I enjoy my job, and I do not putting myself out to help another human being. I do wonder with more and more cuts planned to criminal legal aid where these people are going to get help when there are fewer and fewer criminal solicitors who are less willing to undertake cases on a pro bono basis. In criminal work word of mouth is generally the only way that you pick up good 'own Clients', pro bono work is essential to maintain a good Client base, but if legal aid budgets keep getting cut then ultimately pro bono work will become too expensive to do.


Anonymous said...

I think that defence solicitors are put in a very difficult position. Yes, these are often very vulnerable people who need representation but should the Court system (and Society) expect defence solicitors to work for nothing? Try approaching a bricklayer or plumber and asking them to work for nothing... Or Cherie Blair for that matter ...
Archbold, the cat

Anonymous said...

Gavin help help help help!!!!!! Where are you????? I am still looking for a pro bono lawyer to start the second private prosecution for rape in English legal history. I have a very high IQ and I need to send a man into jail for rape by fraud, he too has a fairly high IQ. I have been drinking coffee with Labour Politicians talking abour rape law all the time for one year and this got me to the Bar Pro Bono Unit who rejected me for having a case that takes far too long, well beyond their 3-day limit. But the man I want to prosecute is a narcissistic sociopath, each one costs 46,375 pounds of tax and while they're 4% of the population with NO hope for rehabilitation, they cost 114639 Million pounds of British tax per year, so do you wonder why the government has cut budgets for Legal Aid?
There's a QC who teaches at Oxford who believes I have a case and there's a partner at a band-1 firm in London who never thought for a moment that my case was bullshit, but then I cannot afford him. There is also a legal writer and ex-lawyer up North who believes I have a powerful story to tell. Sections 74 and 76 Sexual Offences Act (2003). Rape by fraud/ procuring women by false pretenses was actually outlawed 125 years ago, but the legal system has not bothered enforcing the law for 125 years. And there are actually more cases than people think there are!

I NEED A LAWYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RAPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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