We are please to be able to confirm that we are ready to launch a pro bono advice scheme at Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre from November 2015. It has taken some time to finalise the scheme documentation to ensure that it is practical and insurable, but we have now finalised those documents and secured the necessary approval for the scheme to run under the BPBU scheme for the purpose of insuring the bar. Solicitors will need to obtain cover via their own insurers, but we are confident that the documents attached will enable them to do so with minimum effort, and of course this should only need to be done once per firm.
We have consulted both bar and solicitors about the structure and scope of this scheme and think that it represents the best balance of various factors – it should provide a useful service without exposing individual practitioners to excessive risk or placing onerous burdens upon them. The scheme is intended to provide preliminary and limited advice and signposting on an appointment basis on a day where the court is not running family lists. It is not an advocacy service although in limited circumstances volunteers may offer to provide advocacy.
We are now asking any further interested solicitors, barrister and ILEX to volunteer to be placed on the rota for 2 days per annum. Please would you email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm if you are willing to make this commitment. Solicitors / ILEX – you will need to confirm that your firm’s insurers have agreed to extend cover before undertaking work under the scheme. The scheme documents below tell you how the rota will work.
We would like to extend our thanks to HHJ Stephen Wildblood QC, staff at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre and the PSU for making this scheme viable – you will see from reading the documentation that they will play a vital role in the operational side of this scheme, enabling the booking and conflict checking system to operate appropriately.