Free Representation Unit teams up with The Secret Barrister in new CrowdJustice appeal

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Blogging heavyweight becomes legal charity’s first anonymous patron

Justice courts lawyers

The Free Representation Unit (FRU) has called on the services of legal Twitterati titan The Secret Barrister (SB) in a bid to raise some much-needed cash.

The FRU, a national pro bono charity that provides legal representation in social security and employment tribunals, has launched a new CrowdJustice campaign to help support disabled people, particularly those with mental health issues, through social security appeals tribunals. The funding campaign, launched yesterday, has already raised over £4,500 of its £10,000 target.

As part of the tie-up, SB has become the charity’s first anonymous patron and follows in the footsteps of less-secretive supporters including Lady justices Arden and Black.

In a new blog post flagging up the FRU’s appeal, SB wrote: “Regrettably, as well we know, legal aid does not evoke the same degree of public sympathy or affection as healthcare or education. As a consequence, it has been politically possible for governments of all stripes to strip away legal aid from large swathes of the population, including many of the most vulnerable among us.”

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The secretive member of the bar — who has garnered nearly 150,000 followers on Twitter, due in part to the overwhelming popularity of his debut book, The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken — continued:

“This justice gap is why the work of pro bono legal charities is so vital. Like with food banks, we would rather live in a society where such charitable endeavours were not needed; however, for those with nowhere else to turn, pro bono units provide the safety net where the state would let people fall. And this is why I am delighted and honoured to announce that I have joined the FRU as a patron.”

The FRU handles around 500 cases each year and relies on a group of willing volunteers, many of whom are trainee lawyers. Each year it needs to raise over £500,000 through charitable grants and donations to maintain its service.

Commenting on SB’s appointment, FRU chief executive David Abbott said:

“It is rare for a charity to invite an anonymous person to become its patron. However, FRU is delighted and honoured that the SB has agreed to join our patrons. He or she has demonstrated their commitment to the principles of justice through their engaging comment and analysis.”

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Every other person

The FRU, like food banks, should not be necessary in our society.

It is a sad indictment of our times that they are.



Necessary by which metric?



“Necessary by which metric?”

A comment that could only have been made by a cosseted middle-class student with no experience of real life.




Avoiding the question denotes no answer.



Spoken like a true gammon…


Is racism acceptable on Legal Cheek now?


Spoken like a true gammon.


Who you calling gammon, beefsteak?


Vote Corbyn to tax city greed and pay for legal aid!

A four day week for all – a supertax on city partners and a mandatory 35 hour work week!

Vote CORBYN!!!

Mammy Briscoe



You’re referring to someone’s skin colour (brown) because they referred to yours (pink).

That is racism right there!


Given that it was established in 1972 I regret that it is not only a sign of the times. It was founded in response to the lack of legal aid for representation in the ‘informal’ tribunal system (a situation that has got progressively worse). True the closure of Law Centres and CABs has made things even worse still.

Volunteering for FRU has provided invaluable opportunities for generations of aspiring barristers. It is the ultimate win/win for both the representative and the client. One gets vital experience and the other gets help.

I note that it needs £500,000 per annum to survive. Interesting contrast to all of those articles about newly qualified pay at circa £120,000.



So what if they earn 6-figures? I quite enjoy flying in Club World and eating in Michelin star restaurants.


Rupert; a US Firm associate

Only Club World? Cute…



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



free representation is free for a reason.



You get what you pay for…



Yeah… and Mark Duggan was a good boi m8.



Mr B J Mann

Strangely, if the truth be known, this was posted to, but disappeared from, the Secret Barrister’s blog under the above article:

Mr B J Mann says:

October 25, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Talking about access to justice, does the recent decision that the retrial of Tommy Robinson has to be referred to the Attorney General indicate that the original “trial” judge should have done this in the first place instead of holding his kangaroo court drumhead trial?

If so, what does this say about the commentary of various legal experts on the previous proceedings?


Mr B J Mann

Perhaps she thought I was referring to her?!

Raw nerve??!


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