Pro bono costs—Unlock funds for justice
Pro bono costs—Unlock funds for justice

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Pro bono costs—Unlock funds for justice
  • Outline
  • Correspondence & settlement
  • Litigation
  • At Court
  • After costs ordered (Or Agreed)
  • Contact Information


What are pro bono costs?

  1. Pro bono costs are like ordinary legal costs, but where a party was represented for free in relation to proceedings.

  2. The County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal Civil Division and Supreme Court can award pro bono costs broadly where they would award normal costs. Pro bono costs can also be included in settlement agreements.

  3. Pro bono costs reflect the financial value of the free legal help provided the amount is based on what a paying client would recover. The costs cover any period when free representation was provided and even if only one of the lawyers acted for free (ie normal costs can also be sought for the fee-paid work).

  4. The losing party is required to pay the costs to the prescribed charity, the Access to Justice Foundation. The foundation then distributes the funds to agencies and projects to support the provision of free legal help to those in need.

Why were they introduced?

  1. Before October 2008, the indemnity principle meant a party represented by pro bono lawyers could not obtain costs against the other side. The better resourced party therefore had an unfair advantage of litigating without normal costs risks. The introduction of pro bono costs aimed to help level the playing field for pro bono assisted parties, by preventing