The first PSU volunteers began helping people in a court in London in 2001.
We aim to reduce the disadvantage of people facing the civil and family justice system without a lawyer, enabling them to access justice. We believe that no one should face court alone and our vision is that every person in England and Wales who wants our help should be able to access the help of a PSU volunteer.
PSU volunteers will help with any aspect of civil legal proceedings: over half of PSU help is in a family matter, with two thirds of these cases concerning children; nearly 17% of cases involve a money claim; and 14% concern housing problems, which often place people at risk of homelessness. Many of the people we help are vulnerable and disadvantaged, and they look to our volunteers for reassurance and guidance. Most cannot afford a lawyer and are not eligible for legal aid, so they come to us for support.
We try to make a difference to everyone’s lives, in any way we can. We understand that the court system can be an overwhelming and alien place, so we help people face it more confidently. After being helped by a PSU volunteer, 99% of people have more confidence, understand legal procedures more clearly and are better prepared to deal with their court case. 97% feel their PSU volunteer helped them get a fairer hearing.
If you need help or support from a PSU volunteer, please visit our locations page to find your nearest PSU. Our volunteers are here for you.
'I have a mental health problem and when I arrived I was overwhelmed and did not think I would be able to cope. Jasmine made it possible to get through the day. A big thank you!'
'We meet people from all walks of life and help them solve their problems.'
'PSU volunteers often defuse angry or tense situations. On some occasions, LiPs told me they would have left the court out of anger if PSU volunteers hadn’t encouraged them to stay and follow the hearing through. This makes the situation for the judges easier.'