Latest News

  • Take part in the London Legal Walk 2014 for FRU
    Thu, 04/03/2014 - 12:55


    FRU is putting a team together for this years London Legal Walk.  On 19th May 2014 at 5.30pm, teams from chambers, firms and the judiciary will walk 10km through London starting at the Royal Courts of Justice to raise money for the London Legal Support Trust. 25% of the money raised for the event goes to FRU. 

    If you would like to be part of the FRU team taking part in the walk, please sign up on the list on the board in the office or email Sharon Sneddon, Office Manager, at

    Alternatively, if you would prefer to make a donation, here is a link to our fundraising website:
    Please do get in touch if you have any questions about the walk.

    The walk is a great opportunity to network with qualified lawyers and judges. It's also a great opportunity to socialise with other FRU volunteers. 

    As you know, the legal advice sector is suffering at the moment. FRU receives no government funding and we are grateful for any help. Any money raised will contribute towards the costs of running the office and supervising casework.


  • Great Legal Bake 2014
    Mon, 01/27/2014 - 11:24


    ON 28th FEBRUARY 2014

    Please consider baking a cake!!
    Or at least popping in to buy a slice.
    All funds raised go to FRU
    (If you would like more information please email

  • FRU is happy to announce its team of Virgin London Marathon Runners 2014
    Thu, 01/16/2014 - 12:05

    Once again five FRU supporters are taking to the gyms and the parks in training for the Virgin London Marathon. Please support their efforts!

    Sean Jones QC

    First Up: Sean Jones QC of 11KBW.

    A trustee of FRU, this is Sean’s 10th Marathon, and in his own words “What has got me out onto the streets again is FRU. At a time when access to representation and, therefore, access to justice is getting harder, the Unit helps those who most need it whilst helping to train the professional advocates of the future.”

    Second Up: Adam Ohringer of Cloisters Chambers.

    In the the words of Michael Reed “Adam is an ex-FRU volunteer, current barrister and all around good egg.” Adam says that he is running for FRU because “If FRU wasn't there, countless of individuals would be going to court on their own without advice, representation or even some help to carry the files.  Think of that as the legal equivalent of removing your own appendix.  It can be done but.....”


    Third Up: Michael Reed of FRU.

    FRU’s trusted Employment law Principal Legal Officer, this will be Michael’s 5th or 6th or possibly 7th marathon for FRU...


    Fourth Up: Elizabeth Forrester of Birnberg Peirce & Partners

    According to Elizabeth: "I worked at FRU for a year as assistant legal officer from 20011-2012 and volunteered before and since then. While I was there I was talked into doing the marathon by a trusted principal legal officer (employment) who will remain nameless and it was so much fun that I did it again last year. This year will make it a hatrick- and any encouragement in the form of donations or cheering are very welcome."

    Please support them with your words of encouragement and any donation you can give!

    Last Up: Ben Cooper of Old Square Chambers 

  • Christmas Donation from Keating Chambers!
    Sat, 11/30/2013 - 14:52

    Keating Chambers has once again donated £1000 to FRU in place of sending out paper Christmas Cards. This kind donation is an example of innovative giving which embodies the spirit of Christmas. 

    George Miller, Chair of FRU, said: "FRU is extremely grateful to Keating Chambers for their generous donation. Unrestricted funds are vital to allow FRU to continue to meet its charitable objectives. The continued support of the legal profession allows us to provide pro bono representation to hundreds of clients every year."

    Paul Darling QC, Head of Keating Chambers, said: “We are very happy to be able to continue our support of FRU and the fantastic work they do”.

    By donating £1000 to FRU, chambers such as Keating Chambers, help ensure the charity can continue to support and train its volunteers to provide quality representation to their clients. 

  • The Solicitor General, Oliver Heald QC MP, remembers his time at FRU.
    Wed, 11/06/2013 - 15:02

    I was a member of FRU in 1977 and 1978. In those days it had an office on the First Floor of Middle Temple Lane and was a fairly small group of friends committed to helping people in need of legal advice and representation in tribunals.Oliver Heald MP QC

    We were lucky to have strong support from Bar Council representative John Griffiths QC and our excellent Chairman Rick Clayton, now Richard Clayton QC, the present UK representative on the Venice Commission.

    It had started a few years earlier in 1972 and when I joined a part-time administrator had been there a short while. Janet Beech was enthusiastic and good in a crisis. Later in my time she was replaced by Sue Watkins, who was also very important to FRU’s development.

    The organisation had always been run by a small committee and there was great idealism and a strong feeling that it should retain its independent ethos. The weekly committee round-ups in the Three Tuns pub on Chancery Lane added to the sense of camaraderie, although sadly the pub is long-gone.

    As well as student and pupil barristers, we had graduate students from the LSE and that’s how I met my wife Christine. She had a background in social policy and would take on cases in the Supplementary Benefit Appeal Tribunal. We got to know each other at the weekly meetings in the Three Tuns, where I was often ribbed by the others for my Conservative views and my diary with a picture of Mrs Thatcher. Christine took pity on me and a FRU romance led to a long and happy marriage.

    Original FRU members such as Roger Burbidge continued to take an interest and on the Committee I remember Jan Luba (who did training), Sue Gorman and Henry Blaxland. Other active members were Richard Drabble, Robert Latham and Claer Lloyd-Jones. Whilst many members went on to be eminent lawyers, Sue Gorman married Steve Dimond and moved to France and I believe Tania Ky went on to be a successful dancer. Many of my generation were also very sad that Andy Bantoft, who was an excellent member of the Committee, died tragically in South America.

    In the 1970s, there were many more applications for help than we could manage. FRU did a great deal to help those in need. It still does. When I promote Pro Bono, I always refer to the important forty-year FRU legacy.

    Oliver Heald, QC, MP is a barrister and Conservative politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Hertfordshire and has been Solicitor-General since 2012.