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  • The Law Society actively supports our members' public legal education (PLE) projects through a series of initiatives, ongoing consultation and engagement with our members and their CSR teams.

    Jonathan Smithers, Law Society president, working with students at at Haverstock School

    PLE is provided in many ways by many people

    Public legal education can include:

    • sessions or workshops in schools, youth groups, prisons and other venues
    • information or resources about law-related issues
    • awareness-raising campaigns
    • mock trials and role play exercises
    • activities at community events

    Public legal education is not legal advice. It's about developing capacity, not answering specific legal problems, and firms have engaged with it in different ways. We'll be providing case studies showing how firms have taken up the PLE challenge.

    Citizenship Foundation's Lawyers in Schools Programme

    The Law Society is a major funder of the Citizenship Foundation.

    We support the work our members engage in through their Lawyers in Schools programme, which connects lawyers with local schools that are seeking legal education for their students. It's a unique, skills-based employee volunteering opportunity designed to increase young people's awareness and understanding of the law.

    The results for both students and lawyers have been superb.

    You can find out more about the scheme on the Lawyers in Schools website.

    Solicitor General's Public Legal Education Panel

    The Law Society is a member of the Solicitor General's newly established PLE Panel (established in the summer of 2017). The panel, formed of key organisations, will promote the importance of teaching people about the law and their basic civil and criminal rights - from knowing if you’re entitled to a refund in a shop or whether you’ve been a victim of discrimination.

    The panel, which will meet bi-annually, is formed of key PLE representatives including those from the following organisations: Citizenship Foundation, Legal Education Foundation, The Law Society, Bar Council, CILEX, Magistrates’ Association, Ministry of Justice, Judicial Office, Solicitors Regulation Authority, Citizens Advice, Law for Life, Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, Youth Access and Law Centres Federation.

    Other participants may be invited to attend meetings on an ad hoc or permanent basis with the agreement of the panel.

    Find out more about the panel

    Attorney general's Public Legal Education Working Group

    The Law Society sat on the PLE Working Group, which was set up by the attorney general's Pro Bono Coordinating Committee in late 2012.

    The group had a single term of reference:

    To make recommendations to the attorney general's Pro Bono Coordinating Committee for facilitating the further development of Public Legal Education.

    The report produced by the Working Group can be found on the Law for Life website (PDF).

  • The Law Society endorses the view that:

    'Public Legal Education provides people with awareness, knowledge and understanding of rights and legal issues, together with the confidence and skills they need to deal with disputes and gain access to justice.

    'Equally important, it helps people recognise when they may need support, what sort of advice is available, and how to go about getting it.

    'PLE has a further key role in helping citizens to better understand everyday life issues, making better decisions and anticipating and avoiding problems'

    The definition agreed by the 2007 Public Legal Education Task Force.