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Pro bono schemes

The Latin term pro bono refers to professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment.

Our pro bono schemes are led by academics who bring their own experience and legal expertise to the projects they oversee, imparting their knowledge with our student volunteers.

Our schemes help a range of people with a variety of legal matters at the same time as equipping our students with transferable experience of real-life casework.

Our undergraduate and postgraduate students can volunteer on our schemes and gain the opportunity to develop their skills in client care, legal research, writing and public speaking.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of our pro bono schemes were unfortunately put on hold. As the academic year begins for 2022/23 we have relaunched a number of our schemes.

However, as we evaluate our offering (introducing, relaunching, and bringing some schemes to an end) those listed here are indicative of the range of schemes we have offered. An updated list of available schemes will be online in due course.

Therefore, if you are a prospective student who would like to talk to us about our current offering, or a representative from an organisation who wishes to work with us, please email probono@cardiff.ac.uk with any queries.

Led by Julie Price

Child Contact Centres exist to provide children with the opportunity to spend time with a non-resident parent following a family breakdown.

By training and volunteering with the Bridgend Children’s Contact Centre, our students provide a listening ear and support to families during contact visits.

Through this scheme, students develop skills such as empathy and the importance of being non-judgemental, while assisting families who are going through difficult times.

This project is a collaboration between Cardiff University, BPP Law School (Bristol), Swansea University and the University of South Wales.

Volunteers provide guidance to claimants on employment tribunal procedure. On this scheme, our students are trained to run guidance sessions for unrepresented claimants at Cardiff employment tribunals on what to expect at a final employment tribunal hearing.

Led by Ben Pontin and Environmental Law solicitor Guy Linley Adams

The Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) is one of the world’s oldest pro bono environment Law advice and representation charities. It aims to help give a voice to ordinary people and communities to be heard on matters affecting the environment in which they live. It currently operates through a network of university law clinics. Students work alongside national expert practitioners in the field of environmental Law.

The Cardiff ELF Clinic’s role is to advise on enquiries referred to it via the central ELF hub in London. Students have previously worked on cases that include a public enquiry into the M4 Newport relief road, a proposal for a hydroelectric power station, and National Resources Wales’ alleged failure to regulate waste paint from electricity pylons.

Appropriate Adults support vulnerable adults who are detained in custody. Students volunteer with Hafal, the mental health charity, and are trained to become qualified appropriate adults, and to be placed on a rota to be ‘on call’ to attend local police stations if a person is being questioned.

Led by Hannah Marchant 

Our NHS Continuing Healthcare scheme addressed a national problem which affects vulnerable sections of the community: care home fees.

The scheme ran until 2018 and allowed our students to help families of nursing home residents and people suffering from dementia to recover care home fees that arguably should have been paid by the NHS.

In total, we recovered more than £190,000 of wrongly paid care home fees. The largest single amount recovered for a client was more than £31,000.

This scheme has now evolved into a work experience opportunity where students visit the office of law firm, Hugh James, for training on this specialist area of Law and practice.

We support the Speakeasy Employment Law Clinic, a specialist clinic based in Cardiff.

Our students shadow employment lawyers who provide employment and discrimination legal advice to some of the most vulnerable across the city including:

  • the recently dismissed
  • the unemployed
  • individuals faced with redundancy or disciplinary action/investigation
  • employees discriminated against in their workplaces
  • individuals dealing with non-payment of wages.

Led by Julie Price

Every year, thousands of people in the UK face court alone. Without help, they have to represent themselves while they go through court proceedings such as divorce, seek custody of their children, or face eviction from their home. They are forced to navigate a complex legal system alone, often against the professional legal representation of the other party.

Working with Support Through Court, our students are trained to assist litigants in person at the Civil Justice Centre in Cardiff.

Led by Anna Heenan 

Victim Support is a national charity which supports people affected by crime and traumatic incidents in England and Wales.

Our students volunteer at the charity's national inbound call centre. Amongst the services they offer is their national support line which provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Through this scheme, students develop important skills such as empathy, active listening and the importance of being non-judgemental.