Pro Bono and I - Deans Court Chambers

Pro Bono Week

As Pro Bono week comes to and end this year, we reflect on a productive week, highlighting the necessity of Pro Bono work and also on our own achievements.

On Wednesday 2nd November we were delighted to be awarded ‘Chambers of the Year’ at the Advocate Pro Bono Awards 2022. It was fantastic to be recognised as a leader among our peers, the accumulation of our repeated commitment to Advocate and Pro Bono work. Our Senior Clerk Matthew Gibbons summed up our achievement.

“I am Extremely proud that Deans Court won Pro Bono set of the year at last week’s Advocate’s annual awards event. Lawyers should be paid for work they do and shouldn’t have to subsidise areas where the government have restricted access to justice through “reforms” of funding. Many Barristers and Solicitors battle against this tide on a daily basis. But it’s still rewarding to add something back to society particularly for those people who are vulnerable and most in need. This award represents our modest commitment and the awards event reflected on the vast overall help that Advocate, Barristers and Solicitors provide whilst trying to remain profitable in a challenging market.”

We have taken on thirteen pieces of Pro Bono work this year alone and had a trio of individuals who completed #25for25: The Pro Bono Challenge earlier in the year.

Our commitment to Pro Bono goes further than taking on cases. In May 2022, we organised and hosted an event for Advocate and the Northern Circuit which focused on discussing Pro Bono and how it can develop your career. We also assisted Alexandra Andrei, President of the Manchester Pro Bono Society, at the University of Manchester, with an event about the benefits of Pro Bono for career development for those considering a career in the legal profession.

On Thursday 10th November, we hosted our own ‘The Great Legal Bake 2022’ raising vital funds for the Access to Justice Foundation. A plethora of cakes and some fantastic donations proved to be an excellent event, as we raised over £400 for Access to Justice.

Liam Kelly, who was shortlisted for ‘Young Pro Bono Barrister of the Year 2022’ reflected on his own involvement in Pro Bono work as he continues to dedicate a significant amount of time to aid clients who require his assistance through Advocate.

“The criteria for obtaining legal aid in private family law proceedings are now incredibly narrow. It is not unusual for parents to have to face difficult and complex proceedings without the benefit of legal advice and representation at hearings. Giving up just a few hours of my time can make a real difference to the case, but more importantly to my client at what is usually an incredibly difficult and overwhelming time in their lives. Professionally it gives me the opportunity to engage in unusual or complex work above my level of Call. Personally, I find it incredibly satisfying to know that by giving a little bit of my time my client has not had the daunting task of facing the court alone and without advice." – Liam Kelly, Barrister.

As the curtain falls on another excellent week it is a reminder that pro bono cases, unlike pro bono week, do not end on Friday. We look forward to continuing our work alongside Advocate, providing legal assistance for those who need it most.

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