Freedom Law Clinic - sqe preparation and pro bono opportunities

Criminal appeals.
pro bono.
It's what we do!

Work on active cases and get behind the scenes insight into criminal defence and appeals.

Since 2015 we have been offering engaging pro bono programmes that give you firsthand access to complex criminal appeal cases involving serious offences.

You get to make a direct contribution to our client casework, undertaking valuable legal research and pursuing new lines of enquiry, working under expert supervision from experienced criminal lawyers in order to identify and prepare fresh grounds of appeal.

Our clients get the benefit of some of the brightest minds and emerging legal talent working on their case. Pro bono.

You will have access to our comprehensive online lecture series so that you understand some of the key legal concepts before undertaking specific tasks to move the client’s case forward as part of a group. Weekly casework meetings via Zoom and ongoing interaction with the clinic team will help you stay on track and ensure the best possible outcome for your client.

What’s more, all of our work is completed online, which means that you can participate from almost anywhere in the world.

We have new intakes of students every month.

Some of the institutions
we work with...

Kickstart your career

Over the course of six weeks you will get a behind the scenes look at criminal defence work and the challenges associated with appealing a conviction or sentencing.

Our pro bono criminal appeals programme lasts for six weeks and at the end we discuss opportunities to gain further pro bono experience working across our extensive and ever-changing portfolio of cases.

We charge a nominal fee of £72 per person for access to our online learning materials and digital services. This is how we fund the development of our work and, as a Community Interest Company, any profits are automatically reinvested for the benefit of students and clients.

Programme fee - £72 per student
to cover the cost of materials and administration

Our programme puts students in the driving seat... you do the research, you apply the law to the facts of your client's case and you tell us how we can help progress matters towards an appeal or application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.


Our caseload is constantly changing and prioritised according to client needs. Below are some of the cases we are currently recruiting students to work on.

R v R
Attempted murder and fraud in a position of trust

R v D
A county lines drug case involving modern day slavery charges

R v M
A joint enterprise murder conviction involving fresh cell site evidence

R v F
A multi handed drugs conspiracy involving disclosure failings

Apply for the programme

Apply now. We'll get back to you within 48 hours.
You do not need to pay the programme fee until you are accepted on to the programme.


What kinds of cases might I be working on?

All of the criminal appeals cases we work on involve convictions for serious offences, such as murder, the supply or importation of drugs and assaults.


Who can apply?

The programme is open to students, graduates and post graduates. You do not need experience of criminal law or even to have studied criminal law before you can participate. We provide comprehensive support materials that will give you the basic level of knowledge to start working on your client’s case. The experience from the programme will be relevant to both aspiring barristers and solicitors.


When can I start?

We have new groups of students starting every month – the main thing is to figure out when you can attend the weekly Zoom sessions. Once you sign up, you will be given a range of options and just join the most convenient group.


What time commitment is required?

We suggest that you should allocate approximately 10 hours per week, although if you are planning on pursuing a career in criminal law you may want to dedicate more time. There is a weekly casework meeting via Zoom – the rest of the work can be completed flexibly around other commitments.


Does casework on this programme count as QWE?

No. We have a completely different process for signing off QWE to meet the SRA requirements. This is not possible given the nature of the criminal appeals programme.


Do I have to attend in person?

No. Our criminal appeals programme is conducted online, so you can participate from anywhere so long as you have an internet connection.


Why do I have to pay?

We are a self-funding community interest company which means that our income is derived from the services we provide. We make a nominal charge for learning materials and administration, but all of this is reinvested into developing our legal education programmes and helping clients.


Can I cancel or defer my place?

We do not accept cancellations once you have had access to the learning materials. Nor is it possibly to defer your participation once you have been allocated to a working group.


What tasks might I be undertaking?

Casework varies depending on the needs of the client, so you could be drafting correspondence with the client to request additional papers or information, be assessing the merits of the clients case, researching and instructing an expert, or setting out basic grounds of appeal. There is no exhaustive list… we encourage all students to take initiative and ensure that their client’s needs are met.


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