Rule of law

How lawyers can show support for people in Ukraine

The Law Society stands in solidarity with people in Ukraine following the Russian Federation’s illegal invasion of the country.

Tattered Ukranian (blue and yellow) flag flying over buildings in Kyiv against pale sky

Our president I. Stephanie Boyce said:

“We condemn the actions of the Russian Federation, which are in contravention of international law. There is no doubt that these actions are a direct threat to the rule of law.”

Read our full statement and make sure you’re compliant with recent sanctions

Stephanie met with the president of the Ukrainian Bar Association, Anna Ogrenchuk, to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

We've also made a joint oral statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council condemning Russia's violations of international law, its repression of dissent and crackdown on lawyers.

Read our joint statement (PDF 253 KB) 

How you can help

Pro bono action from the legal profession

If you’re a lawyer looking to help advise Ukrainians pro bono, make sure that you have the requisite expertise in any areas you're volunteering to advise in.

Ukraine Advice Project UK

Immigration lawyers have launched an advice service to provide free help and support to Ukrainians seeking refuge in the UK in the wake of the Russian invasion. 

The project is being supported by DLA Piper.

Get in touch by emailing projectu@dlapiper.com if you're:

  • a qualified immigration lawyer looking to volunteer pro bono advice, or
  • a Ukrainian national seeking immigration legal advice

Find out more about the Ukraine Advice Project UK

Ukraine Justice Alliance

Lawyers, law firms and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have formed a coalition offering legal expertise and support to Ukrainian people, Ukrainian NGOs, civil society organisations and the government of Ukraine.

The group plans to focus on activities such as:

  • accountability and prosecutions
  • evidence-gathering and information provision
  • strategic refugee and asylum advice

The immediate focus is on practical assistance for Ukrainians on the ground and critical legal issues, such as immigration and preservation of evidence. 

Find out more about Ukraine Justice Alliance

If you're a lawyer with relevant expertise (such as international criminal law) looking to help, email contact@ukrainejusticealliance.com.

Please note that this is a rapidly evolving area, and the above pro bono initiatives are only the ones the Law Society is aware of at time of publishing. There may be others that will be added in the future. The Law Society cannot comment on the operations of the above pro bono initiatives.

Donations

There are many charities running appeals in response to the crisis in Ukraine. Some of the largest national appeals are:

This is not an exhaustive list.

Other support

Homes for Ukraine scheme

The government has opened a scheme allowing individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to help bring Ukrainians to safety, including those with no family ties to the UK.

Read more about the scheme and how to get involved

Initiatives by the Ukrainian National Bar Association

The Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA) is carrying out various initiatives in support of lawyers affected by the conflict.

Find out more on the UNBA’s website

(To read the site in English, you'll need to use a translating system such as Google Translate.)

Please note that the Law Society is not regularly monitoring updates to this page and cannot verify its content.

Learn more about the legal issues

Russia's invasion of Ukraine raises many issues of public international law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law.

Read a brief explanation of some of the issues

Since the invasion, related cases have been brought and are pending before the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.

For more information, as well as guidance on evidence-gathering and expert views, visit the Ukraine transitional justice and documentation portal.

England and Wales are open to Ukrainian lawyers and law firms

Ukrainian lawyers who relocate to England and Wales are entitled to practise under their home-country professional title.  They do not need to qualify as solicitors nor sit any exam in order to practise here.

They can provide legal services in Ukrainian law, international law and English law (including drafting contracts) with the only exception of a small number of activities.

They can work:

  • in a UK law firm
  • in a company as in-house lawyers
  • as sole practitioners, or
  • in partnership with, or be employed by, English and Welsh solicitors or other international lawyers

Find out more about practising in England and Wales

Requalifying in England and Wales

Ukrainian lawyers who wish to gain the professional title of 'solicitor' can sit the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), though this is not necessary to practise under your home professional title (see above).

The SRA welcomes applications from lawyers from Ukraine and is happy to discuss individual circumstances. It will make decisions on a case-by-case basis, using the available evidence.

Where it is difficult to access to certain documents required for the exam, alternative documentation can be used to support an application.

Read the SRA's guidance for qualified lawyers in jurisdictions where there is political unrest

Ukrainian law firms can open offices in England and Wales.

They do not need to register with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) unless they want to provide services in a small number of areas. No permission is required to establish a business presence in the UK, although there are regulations on the use of business names and in certain business sectors.

Find out more about opening a law firm office in England and Wales

Resources for UK nationals in Ukraine

The UK Visa Application Centre in Kyiv is now closed and all UK visa services in Kyiv are suspended.

Register your presence in Ukraine with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Ukraine travel advice from GOV.UK

If you’re trying to leave Ukraine:

Call +380 44 490 3660 or +44 (0)1908 516666 and select the option for “consular services for British nationals”

Contact form: help for British people in Ukraine

Information for Ukrainian nationals

UK visa support available to Ukrainian nationals and their family members

Find out about the Ukraine Family Scheme

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