Latest News

  • Bar Council opens up Instagram to FRU
    Wed, 05/05/2021 - 15:26

    We were delighted to be given a new showcase by one of our most important supporters on Friday 30 April. The Bar Council allowed FRU to take over its Instagram feed for the day. The Bar Council makes a significant donation towards our costs each year, and currently the Chair of the Bar Council appoints our trustees. We took the opportunity to showcase some of our supporters, enabling them to explain why they are involved with our work. The contributors included:

    • Mahika Gogi, one of our current volunteers,
    • Rosie Vince, our latest Linklaters LLP secondee
    • Daniel Barnett, barrister from Outer Temple Chambers and broadcaster
    • The Secret Barrister, one of our patrons

    We also showcased some feedback from clients represented by FRU volunteers.

    FRU Chief Executive David Abbott said " Thanks to everyone who contributed and to Derek Sweeting QC, Bar Council Chair and the Bar Council communications team who helped us to set the whole thing up. We really appreciated the chance to talk about our work to a wide audience. The FRU content can be viewed here:
    https://www.instagram.com/thebarcouncil/.

  • Coronavirus Update
    Fri, 04/09/2021 - 15:37

    Since March 2020 FRU has been operating remotely. We continue to take on cases in both the Social Security and Employment Tribunals. But the London office remains closed. This has reduced the amount of work that we can handle, but the situation is improving and we expect this will continue. Please bear with us in this difficult time!

    Referring cases
    We are accepting referrals using all the usual methods. Electronic referrals (i.e by email) are better since we can deal with them quickly. Post to the office is being dealt with, but we are only in the office approximately once a week.
    We have also amended our referral policy in two key ways:

    • We are accepting Social Security cases with 10 days to go before the hearing, rather than the normal 14. We understand that things are more difficult for both Appellants and referral agencies.
    • We are not accepting Employment cases lasting longer than three days. Unfortunately, in the current environment it is just too difficult to locate and supervise suitable volunteers to deal with these more complex cases.

    In current circumstances, we are not requiring a client signature on the referral form. Confirmation from you, or in a separate email from the client, that they have understood and accept our terms is sufficient.
    Since we are working remotely, all contact with clients will be by phone and email. This means that our services will only be of use to those who can use these methods of communication, and who can forward any additional documents to us in electronic form.
    We know that everybody is dealing with a challenging situation. If there is anything we can do to help, please do get in touch.  Our telephone line is open from 2pm to 5pm on working days - 0207 611 9555.

    Volunteering
    Volunteers remain at the heart of FRU’s work. We delivered two rounds of remote training in 2020, which means that there is a pool of active volunteers who are taking on cases. Referrals are still coming in, but at a lower rate than normal.
    Most Social Security appeals are currently being heard by telephone. Most Employment cases are heard via video link, although a small number of socially distanced hearing are taking place. 
    But the lockdown and remote working have reduced our capacity. It is harder to get cases in and more time consuming to supervise them. This means that we have reduced the number of volunteers we have trained. We do not want to train large number of volunteers if they will not be able to take on a case.
    I’m interested in training as a volunteer: We expect the next round of training to be in Summer 2021. It will be conducted remotely. You should sign up to our training day newsletter to be informed about dates and booking arrangements. The number of places on this training is likely to remain quite small given the current numbers of available cases. We want to try to make sure that everyone who attends the training as the opportunity to take on a case.
    I’m a current volunteer and want to take on a case: You should be able to see available cases through the FRU Online system. Contact the relevant legal offices to express an interest in a suitable case.
    I’m a current volunteer, but the 12 months I have to take on a case following the training day is going to expire: Because the number of available cases has been low, we are currently allowing anyone who did the training in 2019 or later to attend the remote training as a refresher without charge. We will send you an email when the training days are announced about this. If this applies to you, but you do not receive an email, contact us. 

    The Future
    The current situation is uncertain and things may change quickly. Our overall aim is to continue to help as many people as possible, while keeping our clients, staff and volunteers safe.
    We expect remote working to continue over the summer, but hope to return to the FRU office in some capacity in Autumn / Winter.

  • Linklaters' trainee Rosie Vince joins FRU
    Mon, 03/22/2021 - 11:39

    We are delighted to welcome our latest trainee solicitor from Linklaters LLP, one of the most prestigious UK law firms. Rosie Vince has joined us for a 6-month secondment, as part of her 2-year training contract.

    Linklaters LLP is a leading supporter of FRU's work, and each year a trainee is seconded to FRU to gain experience of case management and advocacy.

    FRU Chief Executive David Abbott commented " It is wonderful to welcome Rosie to join us for 6 months. Undertaking a secondment during lock-down is challenging, but we are sure that Rosie will enjoy her time with us, and will contribute hugely to our work over the summer".

  • FRU Moves Offices
    Mon, 02/22/2021 - 16:57

    FRU have been very busy today moving out of our old office at Kingsbourne House on High Holborn.  We have managed to keep the office open (remotely) during our move.

    We are successfully in our new office at Gray’s Inn Square; however, we still have the much bigger task of unpacking ahead of us.

    Our new address is 10/11 Gray’s Inn Square, Gray’s Inn, London, WC1R 5JD.

  • Top lawyers speak to raise funds for FRU
    Tue, 02/09/2021 - 17:00

    30 of the most senior employment lawyers are raising money for FRU by delivering training webinars during March. The webinars, organised by leading barrister Daniel Barnett, cover a wide range of employment law topics. The employment law leading lights from the Bar and law firms are giving up their time for free to offer the 30 webinars.

    Daniel Barnett has personally underwritten a donation of £20,000 to FRU from the proceeds of the webinars.

    FRU Chief Executive David Abbott said "we are enormously grateful to Daniel Barnett for organising the webinars and for the very generous donation of £20,000. Those funds will help us to continue our service during the next 12 months. We are also grateful to all 30 leading lawyers for giving up their time to speak and answer questions, it is hugely cheering to have this support from across the legal profession".

    Full details of the events can be found at this link https://employmentwebinars.co.uk/. Please support our service by making a booking.