Latest News

  • Reported Upper Tribunal decision on beneficial interest and cultural issues when establishing credibility of claimants
    Wed, 03/21/2018 - 15:45

    A new reported decision of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) has been published. The decision addresses the treatment of capital for means tested benefits and in particular establishing whether a ‘Quistclose’ Trust exists. It also offers guidance on taking account of the cultural context of claimants when a tribunal makes decisions on issues of credibility.

    In the reported decision the Upper Tribunal Judge recognises the quality of the submissions made by FRU assistant legal officer Josh Yetman, describing them as ‘well-crafted’. The decision goes on to state that ‘Given the undoubted legal and evidential complexities of this case, I hope that the Free Representation Unit will be able to continue to provide its invaluable help to the Appellant, both by way of preparation for, and representation at, the First-tier Tribunal rehearing.’

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5aa6311040f0b66b5fb4b348/CIS_0798_2017-00.pdf

  • FRU welcomes Hong Kong migrant women charity visit
    Wed, 03/21/2018 - 15:41

    FRU was pleased to welcome representatives of a Hong Kong based humanitarian charity who were researching best practice in pro bono work.

    On 19 March FRU was delighted to host a visit by 2 representatives from the PathFinders NGO from Hong Kong. PathFinders provides humanitarian support, social and welfare services, access to healthcare, education and legal support. PathFinders serves pregnant, migrant women in distress and their Hong Kong-born children. Most of the women are current or former foreign domestic workers. Despite legal

    protections, the women are often dismissed from work unlawfully when pregnant.

    Kay McArdle, CEO and Jenny McAlpine, Head of Special Projects from PathFinders met with FRU Chief Executive David Abbott to learn more about how FRU works. Kay and Jenny were working on a fellowship to learn from global best-in-class access to justice models in London, Melbourne, New York, Singapore and Sydney.

    After the visit David said “we were pleased to learn that representatives from a charity on the other side of the world knew of FRU’s excellent work. Welcoming Kay and Jenny to our office gave us an excellent opportunity to swap experience and support access to justice”.

  • Recruiting for Receptionist/Administrator
    Fri, 03/09/2018 - 10:32

    Receptionist/Administrator
    Salary Range £23,000 per annum

    Full Time


    FRU provides representation in social entitlement and employment tribunals for people who can’t afford lawyers. We represent approximately 500 clients annually in tribunals across London and the South East.

    Most of our work is done by approximately 300 volunteers, generally law students on the Bar Professional Training Course or the Legal Practice Course. They are supervised by our legal officers.  More information about FRU can be found at www.thefru.org.uk 

    An exciting opportunity exists for a conscientious and motivated individual to join our friendly, hard-working team based in Holborn.
    This is a challenging role for someone with good organisational and communication skills for whom accuracy is second nature, and who can multi-task.
    Interviews will be held on Friday 13th April 2018. The closing date for applications is 10am on Thursday 5th April 2016.

    For further details and to apply please download the forms below.

    Job Description
    Person Specification
    Application Form

    Covering Letter

    No Agencies

  • Calling all lawyers – please support the London Legal Walk
    Tue, 02/20/2018 - 16:15

    FRU is inviting the legal community to join us on the London Legal Walk on 21 May.

    The London Legal Walk is an essential source of support to free legal services in London and the south east to promote access to justice. We are encouraging lawyers to enter a team in the walk so that we can collectively raise as much money as possible. Although FRU is an important beneficiary of funds raised from the Walk it also supports many other worthy causes. FRU has entered its team – have you? It’s very easy to enter, just go to the link below. We look forward to seeing on this fun event.

    http://www.londonlegalsupporttrust.org.uk/our-events/london-legal-walk-2018/

  • FRU publishes its annual report for 2017
    Wed, 02/14/2018 - 14:32

    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