Public legal education
What is public legal education?
PLE is about helping the public to understand legal issues. It is not legal advice. It's about developing knowledge and skills, not answering specific legal problems. Firms can engage with it in different ways.
PLE helps the public to:
- be aware of their rights, legal issues and how the legal system works
- understand everyday legal issues, such as moving home or problems at work
- make better decisions and anticipate and avoid problems
- understand when they need legal support, and how to get it
- have the knowledge, confidence and skills they need to deal with legal issues and get access to justice
- get involved in shaping the decisions that affect them
Benefits of public legal education
PLE has benefits for both the public and the legal sector.
Creating demand for legal services
When people understand their legal rights and responsibilities, they’ll know when they have a legal problem, and how and when they should get help from a solicitor.
Increasing public understanding
Campaigns to educate people about legal issues are a practical and powerful way to increase public understanding. They can show people the contribution that solicitors and the legal profession make.
Promoting the rule of law and access to justice
PLE helps to create empowered citizens who understand and value the rule of law.
The law and the legal system are complex. Helping the public to understand the system, and to appreciate the importance of issues such as legal aid, will increase public support for protecting access to justice.
Recruitment and social mobility
PLE projects in schools can help to open up the law to young people and attract more diverse talent to the profession.
Explaining how the law protects people may also encourage people to consider a career in law.
Public legal education can include:
- sessions or workshops in places such as schools, youth groups and prisons
- providing information or resources about legal issues
- awareness-raising campaigns
- mock trials and roleplay exercises
- activities at community events