5RB is a proud member of ‘Friends in Law‘ a scheme launched by the Bar Pro Bono Unit and the Free Representation Unit. As a Friends in Law member, 5RB contributes financial support and pro bono work by volunteers.
Chambers considers that provision of a degree of free legal advice and representation is an essential part of a barrister’s practice in accordance with the general standards and ethics of the Bar. The proportion of time which individual members of chambers devote to pro bono work varies from member to member but the practice of many of the junior tenants includes a significant amount of low or unpaid work.
Some examples of the kind of services which 5RB barristers provide free of charge include:
- providing legal advice and representation in county courts and employment tribunals on a variety of matters on behalf of Islington Legal Advice Centre
- providing advice and representation through the Bar Pro Bono Unit
- project work on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee and Commonwealth Press Union
- legal training for the Council of Europe and other international organisations
- advisory opinions and representation in specific deserving cases where funding is otherwise not available
5RB hosts an annual quiz to raise funds for the Bar Pro Bono Unit and FRU. Members of 5RB also take part in the London Legal Walk each May.
Iain Christie was nominated for the Bar Pro Bono Award in 2003 for his work in presenting the appeal to the House of Lords for the Claimants in Wainwright v Home Office  3 WLR 1137. The case concerned the strip-searching of a mother and her handicapped son on a visit to a prison. Presenting the award to the winner at the bar conference the Attorney General said:
“The award is a celebration of the dedication and commitment of the many barristers who give their time freely to advise, support and represent those who cannot afford legal assistance. The Bar deserves more credit for its public-spirited record in helping individuals in need. This year’s entries show the range and importance of the pro bono work members undertake. Choosing a winner is not easy, and I commend all the entrants.”