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Hale urges lawyers to remember pro bono costs orders

Lady Hale

Hale: Pro bono costs orders very easy to do

The president of the Supreme Court has urged lawyers acting pro bono to remember to apply for pro bono costs orders in any case where costs would normally be awarded.

Speaking at an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the Access to Justice Foundation (ATJF) – which receives the proceeds of all pro bono costs orders – Baroness Hale said: “Our mission is to ensure every court in which pro bono costs may appear, knows about it… It’s very easy to do, once you know how.”

Under section 194 of the Legal Services Act 2007, pro bono costs can be claimed in cases from the county court through to the Supreme Court. CPR 46.7 makes provision for the normal costs provisions to apply in pro bono cases.

At the event, ATJF trustee Bob Nightingale asked Lord Chancellor David Gauke, also in attendance, to consider expanding this provision to all tribunals. “Where costs can apply, so should pro bono costs,” he said.

The ATJF has awarded over £7m in grants over the 10 years, supporting hundreds of service providers and getting legal help to the most vulnerable.

Mr Nightingale also called on law firms to donate funds from unclaimed client accounts, to the ATJF campaign ‘It’s Not Just Peanuts’.

For more details on pro bono costs orders, go to the ATJF’s website [1]. The foundation can also provide templates including draft costs schedules, part 36 offers and draft orders.