FLSU ‘ready to step forward’

15 Nov

John Forsyth from Shared Parenting Scotland, Neil Mackenzie KC, Toby Brown from the Pro Bono Week Committee, Julia Lisowska from Western Isles Citizen Advice Bureau and Silence Chihuri from Fair Justice System for Scotland.


THE FACULTY of Advocates’ Free Legal Services Unit (FLSU) is ready to step forward to address the need for pro bono legal services, says the Unit’s Convenor Neil Mackenzie KC.

Last week was Pro Bono Week. As part of the Faculty’s contribution to Pro Bono Week the FLSU held a networking event at Parliament House, which was attended by Faculty members, devils, representatives from the FLSU’s accredited agencies and other guests involved in pro bono activities. Speaking at the event, Mr Mackenzie said the Unit had been reconstituted to better serve eligible applicants for its services.

The FLSU coordinates the provision of pro bono legal advice or representation by Faculty members and devils to eligible applicants referred by the Unit’s accredited agencies. Eligible applicants are individuals and community groups who cannot afford to pay for advice or representation and where legal aid or other funding is not available.

“Having emerged from Covid, we have had an opportunity to reflect on legal services and the unmet need many members of our communities have for legal advice and representation. In the place of proper, publicly-funded legal aid we now have a giddying patchwork quilt of organisations providing or funding legal advice and representation, including solicitors, law clinics and advice centres,” said Mr Mackenzie.

He stressed the importance of legal professionals giving back and being part of something bigger. “The FLSU advises those that instruct us without fear or favour. We have a long history of providing pro bono legal assistance to eligible applicants.

“The reconstituted FLSU’s review panel is made up of senior counsel who judge each application on merit. Successful applications are then sent out to FLSU volunteers, which include devils and newly called advocates right up Kings Counsel. Each participant in the FLSU has given freely of their time to help here. This event allows us to explain what we offer while finding out what our accredited agencies and other pro bono providers need from us as we move forward,” he said.

The FLSU also participated in the #GreatLegalBake campaign, a bake sale held during Pro Bono Week to raise funds for worthy charities. Mr Mackenzie extended his thanks to those who baked goods for the campaign and those who contributed financially. Monies donated by Faculty members, devils and the Faculty will be split between Edinburgh Community Food and the Scottish Refugee Council.

More information on the vital work carried out by the FLSU can be found here.