It’s only the cost of a posh bottle of plonk: Bar Pro Bono Unit urges barristers to donate in practising certificate renewal push

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What else would £30 get you in legal London?

Barristers will begin to renew their practising certificates today, when they’ll be given the option to untick a box donating £30 to the Bar Pro Bono Unit (BPBU). Forty-eight percent did so in the past few years, and the BPBU is hoping fewer barristers will do the same this year.

Jess Campbell, CEO of the BPBU, says:

“We want to remind counsel that their £30 donation makes an enormous difference to us; it enables us to continue to help people when they are desperately seeking access to justice. The bar always has a choice to donate and we are so grateful for the support of the many that do.”

The BPBU matches barristers with members of the public in need of legal help. Famous cases to progress with the BPBU’s involvement include Ilott v Blue Cross, which saw a fight over money left in a will between the testator’s daughter and three animal charities go all the way to the Supreme Court. Seven justices — including ex-president Lord Neuberger and his then deputy, Lady Hale — heard the case instead of the usual five, a testament to Ilott‘s importance.

The 2018 Chambers Most List

The charity seeks no government funding and is sourced almost entirely through the bar, including through £30 renewal donations which make up about 50% of the BPBU’s income. Fifty-two percent of the bar leave the £30 donation box ticked, and of those around 65% are from the publicly-funded bar.

What else could £30 get you in legal London? Well, the sum would cover 4% of your White Book costs or 20% of your gown. Thirty quid is the cost of, approximately, 11 morning coffees, a posh bottle of plonk, or just 5% of your wig. Even a small barristers bag costs £75: more than double the BPBU donation sum. Barristers can now renew their practising certificates on the MyBar website.

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