FRU publishes its annual report for 2017

FRU has published its latest annual report. The report shows that demand for our service from clients and trainee lawyers is very high.

For the second year running FRU saw a substantial increase in the number of referrals received, from 1607 in 2015/16 to 1937 in 2016/17, and the increase was mainly driven by requests to represent claimants in social security tribunals.

Commenting on the figures FRU Chief Executive David Abbott said “requests for representation in social security hearings have almost doubled in the last 2 years. We believe the increase in requests is due to front-line advice agencies losing the funding to provide representatives for their clients, due to the loss of legal aid and money from other sources such as local authorities. We have done our best to respond to this need, increasing the number of social security cases we represented in by 13%, but we can’t keep up with the demand.”

Requests for assistance in FRU’s other main area of work in employment tribunal representation remained low during the year and FRU found a representative for 178 out of 368 cases referred. The charity expects the amount of employment work to increase substantially following the declaration by the Supreme Court last summer that the Employment Tribunal fee regime was unlawful.

FRU works on a pioneering model that provides legal experience to those at the start of their legal career through representing clients who otherwise couldn’t afford to pay for representation. Demand for FRU’s high quality training days remained high and over 1000 law students attended over 6 days in 2016/17. 2017 – 2018 marks 45 years since FRU was created by a small number of dedicated law students who identified a need and organised themselves to meet it.

Annual Report 2016-2017