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Pro Bono Week: How we support it

The 21st annual Pro Bono Week takes place from 7th to 11th November 2022.

 At Irwin Mitchell, we recognise the pro bono legal advice we can provide is one of the most valuable contributions we can make to our communities. Supporting individuals and organisations who most need to access justice is a key part of our Responsible Business strategy. In the present climate, this is needed more than ever. With the skills we have we are in a privileged position to be able to help those most in need and that is something we are focused on doing.

LawWorks’ Welfare Benefits Advocacy Project supports some of the most vulnerable people in society with appeals in relation to welfare benefits applications to the Social Security Tribunal.

There is a significant need yet a limited supply of pro bono legal advice for individuals facing social welfare issues, with many clients unable to afford legal representation and law clinics being without the resources to support them with their appeals.

Our team has been supporting this LawWorks initiative since 2019 and have, to date, advised 11 clients with appeals in relation to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and Universal Credit. We have been successful in 100% of these appeals, which has meant that the individuals Irwin Mitchell supported have all been awarded benefits or their benefits have been increased. Our next appeal is due to be heard by the Social Security Tribunal in the middle of Pro Bono Week.

The clients we support through the project have all been suffering from physical and/or psychological disabilities. Without their benefits, these individuals cannot afford to pay for the assistance that they need. The clients often struggle to advocate for themselves, are intensely private or because of mental health issues find it difficult to admit they are struggling or properly express the impact their condition has on their life. By acting as their advocate, we are able to tell the Tribunal how, frankly, hard these people’s lives are and why they should be awarded the benefits they are seeking.   The assistance provided by Irwin Mitchell, is not only potentially life changing for those we are helping, but been invaluable for those colleagues who have supported it, and they are incredibly proud of the pro bono work that they have provided and continue to do so through the project.