PSU Seeking Volunteer Co-ordinator in Leeds

We are pleased to reproduce the text of an email received today from Judith March, the director of the Personal Support Unit, along with the attachments:

Leeds PSU Coordinator job description and person specification CJ

PSU Annual Report 2012 for web

The Personal Support Unit (PSU) is a highly respected, friendly and energetic charity providing practical and emotional support to people facing court hearings without lawyers. Most are frightened of, and unfamiliar with the courts and are in danger of losing their homes, children or livelihoods.  Find out more about us at www.thepsu.org.uk  or in the attached Annual Report 2011/2012.

We’re passionate about our plan to open a PSU in every civil and family court in England and Wales, and so make sure that people on their own without lawyers get all the help and support they need.  The Trustees have adopted a 3 year expansion plan to open new PSUs, and have now got permission for their next venture to be located in Leeds Combined Court Centre.

We are seeking somebody special to set up this new project for us.  As one of our small and committed staff group, the ideal candidate will have good people skills, and a talent for organisation.    The job is to build from scratch a team of volunteers and supporters, overseeing day-to-day operations, helping to secure funds and building and sustaining partnerships with key agencies,  so ensuring our future clients receive the high quality support they already receive in existing PSUs.   So we want an engaging communicator, who may already have done some work in the voluntary sector or can provide evidence of the transferability of your experience.

Applicants should apply with a CV and covering letter explaining persuasively why we should offer you the post.  It is important that your letter should provide evidence of the criteria detailed in the person specification.  The job details and application process can be found at

http://www.charityjob.co.uk/Jobs/265105/PSU-Volunteer-Coordinator-Leeds

If you know somebody who could help us to achieve our goal, I would be very grateful if you could pass them this email.

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We don’t do Pro Bono but …

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We can’t provide pro bono services directly but can point you in the right direction

CILEx Pro Bono Trust provides services to lawyers and others seeking to undertake pro bono work and not to the general public. Therefore, while we work in partnership with and support other pro bono projects and services, CILEx Pro Bono Trust is unable to provide or arrange any pro bono help directly to members of CILEx or anybody else. At present, we do not maintain insurance nor any register of volunteers for the provision of such general services. (more…)

Extension to Pro Bono Costs Orders

The UK Supreme Court

There is at least one piece of good news to emerge from the devastation being wrought by the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (LASPO) in the form of an amendment to s194 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA).

As everyone with any interest in pro bono work should know, s194 of LSA enabled those represented pro bono to obtain a costs order if successful. This was previously not possible as the pro bono represented litigant could not recover costs which had not actually been incurred.

Any costs ordered under s194 are paid to the Access to Justice Foundation which distributes them for the benefit of pro bono services across the country. In 2011 alone, the Foundation distributed over £110,000 mostly through the network of Legal Support Trusts.

However, one lacuna in s194 is that it presently only allows costs orders to be made in the County and High Courts and the Court of Appeal; the Supreme Court was omitted.

This will now be remedied by an amendment to LASPO tabled by Lord Pannick QC and which was approved with cross party support. So, while there is much to be deprecated in LASPO, there will be at least one small crumb of comfort to celebrate when it comes into force.

Pro Bono as a punishment?

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This is better than a stick.
Photo by Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Usually there are good things to be learned from the US about the delivery of pro bono services (e.g. allowing pro bono work to count towards CPD requirements which we think is a good thing) but sometimes the learning is about what not to do.

According to the Legal Profession Blog, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has ordered an Attorney to do 75 hours of community or pro bono community service as a disciplinary sanction.

Much as encouraging lawyers to do pro bono work is to be applauded, we share the views nicely expressed on the ABA Centre for Pro Bono Exchange blog that this does not send the right message!

Pro Bono Costs

If you are doing any litigious pro bono work, don’t forget to ask for a pro bono costs order. For details of what is involved (which is nothing too complicated) check out the definitive guides here.

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