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A nationwide Covid-19 Free Legal Advice Scheme has been launched for the benefit of key workers and businesses directly affected by the pandemic.

Clerksroom Direct, which includes a number of barristers in Wales, established the Scheme which is being operated in association with Advocate, the pro bono charity of the Bar, supported by the Bar Council

Harry Hodgkin, Volunteer Scheme Co-ordination and Head of Chambers at Clerksroom, said:

 “A large number of experienced barristers, covering all areas of work, have rallied to the Scheme and offered their support. The response has been exceptional.

“We all want to do as much as we can at this difficult time to help key workers and businesses in need of assistance.”

The Scheme

The aim of the Scheme is to aid those who by reason of their inadequate means require but are otherwise unable to obtain access to legal advice in relation to issues arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Scheme is free on the basis that it is limited in each case to 30 minutes telephone advice followed up by a short email from the barrister confirming the advice provided.

In advance of the barrister’s involvement, the client is asked to email a short, concise summary of the issue upon which advice is sought.

After the barrister has given advice, the barrister may decide that the case is suitable for further pro bono help. In that case, the barrister can be expected to continue to provide pro bono support for the client, or, if the barrister cannot personally continue, Advocate may be able to help, and other assistance may in some circumstances be available which the barrister can advise about.

Clerksroom has access to over 1,000 barristers many of whom have offered to provide support under the Scheme.

The Scheme is now operational and will continue until further notice.

Information about the Scheme is being given to the public through legal publications, newspapers, websites, Linked-in, Facebook, national forums and Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK groups.

Use of the Scheme

More information on the Scheme can be found here:

A full list of the key worker / critical sectors is available here.

Barristers looking to join the Scheme

The Scheme is open to all barristers, including self-employed barristers who are not certified to undertake public access work and employed barristers, all of whom can participate in the Scheme.

Barristers who are existing member of the Clerksroom Direct panel should contact it in the usual way. For those who are not members, click here to register.