By Dan Riley, Sheffield Hallam Law Student
Pro bono week runs from the 2nd to the 6th of November and aims to recognise, support and celebrate the voluntary contributions made by lawyers across the UK giving free legal help and advice to those in need. Pro bono means ‘public good’ and for lawyers this means providing free legal services to those who cannot afford to pay. In the strange times we are currently living in, with the COVID 19 pandemic effecting all of our lives, pro bono work is more important than ever. That is why SHU Law and all of its staff are committed to providing access to justice for the most vulnerable people in society at desperate times in their lives. From employees that have been discriminated at work or unfairly dismissed, to individuals deserving compensation for criminal injuries they have suffered, SHU Law provides assistance on a range of areas free of charge.
One area of law I think is of specific importance in current times is employment. With the business sector in complete uncertainty, employers and employees are facing unprecedented challenges. As such, the number of employees being treated unlawfully and unfairly has massively increased. Due to these circumstances, it is inevitable that these people will not have the money to pay for legal advice or representation highlighting how crucial pro bono work is in present times, to enable access to justice and so people can continue to put food on the table for their families and earn a living.
Along with celebrating the contributions lawyers make, I feel pro bono week is a great opportunity to let people know that free legal advice is available to them, as many individuals may not be aware.
Working on some of these cases as a student has shown me how important it is for people to be able access legal advice if they cannot afford it. People face all sorts of misfortunes and being able to help someone get the justice that they deserve provides a payment far more valuable than money.