Senior judge praises Faculty’s pro bono scheme



A senior judge has gone on record to applaud a free Faculty of Advocates scheme which helps claimants at hearings of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

Mr Justice Langstaff, president of the EAT, said that pro bono representation had operated successfully for some years in its London office, and was now available in Scotland.

He thanked Lady Stacey, the Scottish judge of the EAT when the scheme started, and Mungo Bovey QC, and Brian Napier QC, of the Faculty’s Free Legal Services Unit (FLSU) for organising the service.

Writing in the Senior President of Tribunals’ Annual Report 2016, Mr Justice Langstaff said: “Amongst courts dealing with party and party disputes, the EAT has very considerable – if, indeed, not pre-eminent – experience in assisting litigants in person, and those professionals who give their time so freely and reliably to assist them where it is desired deserve praise.”

The scheme is for people who have lost in the employment tribunal and whose application for permission to appeal has been refused. They are given a second chance to get that permission in a short oral hearing before the EAT judge.

For many, it can prove a daunting experience if they do not have legal assistance and have to appear on their own behalf. Through the FLSU, a volunteer advocate can be provided to ensure that the best possible argument is presented to the EAT judge.

Mr Bovey, FLSU convenor, said: “I am pleased that the Faculty has been able to work with the Tribunal to address this unmet need. We are grateful to those advocates who have given their time to this worthwhile project with our Free Legal Services Unit.”