The Law Society actively supports our members' public legal education (PLE) projects through a series of initiatives, ongoing consultation and engagement with our members.
Public legal education can include:
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.
The Law Society is a major funder of Young Citizens (formerly known as the Citizenship Foundation). We support the work our members engage in through a number of initiatives.
Legal Experts in Schools connects law firms and in-house teams with local schools that are seeking to educate their students about the law. This skills-based employee volunteering opportunity runs over a series of six weeks and increases young people's awareness and understanding of the law by brokering teams of volunteers with each class.
Young Citizens also coordinates legal workshops, which are one-off, half day volunteering opportunities for legal professionals to facilitate interactive sessions with young people looking in detail at an area of the law.
The impact that these programmes have on both students and lawyers has been superb.
Find out more about the Legal Experts in Schools initiative.
The Law Society is a member of the Solicitor General's PLE Panel. The panel promotes 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 meets bi-annually, is formed of key PLE representatives including those from: Young Citizens, 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
The Law Society sat on the PLE Working Group, which was set up by the attorney general's Pro Bono Coordinating Committee in 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 72kb).
For further information, please contact our policy adviser, Kerry Nicholson.
Tel: 020 8049 3933
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.