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I cannot afford a barrister, what are my options?

If you have car or bicycle insurance, travel insurance or home contents insurance, or insurance through a credit card provider or trade union, you may find that the terms of your policy or agreement include legal expenses insurance. Legal expenses insurance usually provides cover for legal advice or representation on any legal matter up to a maximum limit. If you think you may have this cover telephone your insurance company. Insurance companies often have their own legal panels and they will provide you with a suitable lawyer.

You may be entitled to have some or all of your fees paid for legal advice. You can check this at a law centre, Citizens’ Advice Bureau or with your solicitor. You can also look at

You may be able to get assistance from Advocate. This is a charity that helps to find pro bono (free) legal assistance from volunteer barristers at all levels of experience. You will need to be referred to the Advocate by a legal adviser or solicitor.

  • Telephone: +44 (0)20 7092 3960 (Monday, Wednesday & Friday between 10:15 – 12:45)
  • Email: or use the contact form here
  • Write: Advocate, The National Pro Bono Centre, 48 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1JF

If you have an employment or social security issue and have a hearing date at a tribunal in London and the South East (or Nottingham) you can ask your legal adviser to refer you to the Free Representation Unit (FRU). FRU provides representation for people who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford lawyers. Their work is done by volunteers, mostly law students and legal professionals in the early stages of their career. All FRU’s representatives are trained and supervised by their legal officers.

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How Can We Help?

For more information please contact Dave Scothern.

Call: +44 (0)20 7353 6381 or email: