Supporting pupil barristers during their pupillage is key to protecting the Rule of Law

Supporting pupil barristers during their pupillage is key to protecting the Rule of Law

Access to the law – knowing what it says, how and why decisions were made, what one can and cannot do – is fundamental to the Rule of Law. Indeed, it is part of our 4-step definition for the Rule of Law.

The right to access the law is essential for everyone. We all need to know what the law says in order to enforce our rights and seek its protection. However, the law can also be complex and difficult to understand, so often we will turn to a professional to seek advice. Ensuring these professionals have access to up-to-date legislation, case law, practical guidance and templates is at the heart of what we do at LexisNexis. We work closely with lawyers across the UK to provide the latest information they need to support and advise their clients.

Getting access can be more challenging at the start of your career – particularly if you are a pupil barrister. Often self-employed, and with a short window within which to secure tenancy, any additional expense is a material consideration.  And we already know that this is more of a challenge for aspiring barristers from poorer backgrounds, who are less likely to have other means of financial support. That is why LexisNexis has decided to provide free access to LexisPSL for pupil barristers for the duration of their pupillage. 

Today, anyone looking for legal advice will face an uphill battle, often at one of the darkest moments of their life. A combination of cuts, cost reductions and COVID-19 have made it increasingly difficult to navigate the criminal justice system. Equally, for those in the civil sector, the demand for advice often outweighs the supply. Our own studies have shown that 70% of people facing a legal problem cannot access legal advice at all. 

And so we want to do what we can for those right at the start of their careers at the Bar – to play our part in making sure that a lack of financial means is not a barrier to entry and to support the barristers of the future, on whom many of us will rely. After all, access to quality legal advice, together with a diverse and representative Bar, are key to protecting the Rule of Law.

Click here to request free access to LexisPSL for your pupil barristers.

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About the author:

Legal Director and Senior Counsel

Exec Sponsor, Rule of Law and CSR

James works for LexisNexis, based in their London office, as Legal Director and Senior Counsel.  In line with a personal passion for access to justice, James leads LexisNexis’s work in the UK on advancing the Rule of Law, with a focus on supporting digitisation in the free legal advice community.  He also heads up the UK CSR programme, encouraging employee volunteering and giving, making a positive impact on society and the communities around us.

A lawyer with experience both in private practice and in-house, James joined LN in 2012 as its UK General Counsel and was promoted to its board 2 years later.  He also led the legal function for LexisNexis South Africa and for regulatory media organisation MLex after its acquisition in 2015

In 2017, he moved into a mainstream business role to gain non-legal experience, and worked as the Director of Customer Success and Engagement.  Leading a group of c.40 people at the front-line of the business, his team ensured that existing customers get the most value from our products and future customers can make informed and objective decisions when moving to services and tools within our product portfolio.

James returned to his current legal role at the start of 2021.

Away from the office, James is a Trustee for the London Legal Support Trust, an Officer of the International Bar Association, and an FA Level 1 Football Coach.