This month we are celebrating the anniversary of the launch of our Pro Bono Department at Stewarts. We are proud to deliver the Legal Service which provides support and expertise to patients and their families following life changing injury or illness.
The Legal Service was set up in 2004 and in 2012 we formally launched our Pro Bono department. The department’s time is completely dedicated to supporting patients at a difficult time in their life, particularly those who may not otherwise have the funds to seek legal advice. You can read more about how the Legal Service began at Stewarts in Head of Pro Bono Kara Smith’s career story.
The Legal Service by numbers
Since the Legal Service was set up we have met with nearly 5,000 patients and provided over 15,000 hours of free legal advice and support.
The service is wide ranging and the nature of the matters we commonly assist clients with has expanded and developed over the years. At a glance, to date we have assisted our pro bono clients to:
- Execute more than 500 powers of attorney
- Make more than 140 applications to the Court of Protection
- Have a total of over £1,000,000 of debt written off
- Receive more than £11,000,000 in pay outs from no-fault critical illness or personal accident insurance
In addition, we have supported them with issues ranging from:
- Re housing applications and complaints
- Welfare benefits applications, assessments and appeals to the tribunal
- Queries about life after discharge and ongoing care at home
- Complaints to a number of different Ombudsman services
- Employment guidance, reviewing contracts and sick pay entitlement
Life Beyond Injury
We are always delighted to hear about the positive impact the service has had on our clients. You can read the stories of some of our recent clients here:
- RA incurred multiple serious injuries, including a C4 incomplete spinal cord injury, in a road traffic accident in 2015. After RA’s insurers initially refused to pay out under his critical illness policy, Stewarts convinced the Financial Ombudsman Service he could not return to his previous occupation following the accident. This led to the insurer paying out under the policy.
- SL suffered an extremely rare form of blood clot, was admitted to hospital and underwent surgery. SL’s family consulted Stewarts pro bono team to handle potential uncertainties around an insurance claim. SL has since made an incredible recovery and her consultants were astounded by the speed of her recovery.
- BH was involved in a single-vehicle road traffic accident in late 2019. Unfortunately, as a result of the accident, he sustained a catastrophic brain injury and serious chest injuries causing him to fall into a coma. Following BH’s referral to the Legal Service, the creditor was apologetic and paid off his balance with additional compensation.
“The Legal Service, through the support of the Pro Bono Department, has assisted a huge number of people over the past ten years. I am proud of the outcomes we have been able to achieve for our clients, whose lives have been turned upside down by the injuries they have sustained or the illnesses they have suffered. The crucial support that we provide helps to alleviate the anxiety experienced by our clients and their families and enables them to focus on their recovery and their future.”
Looking to the future, we will continue to provide legal support to those who need it and we have exciting plans in the pipeline to broaden the scope of support available to patients and their families.
The Legal Service – We are here to help
The Legal Service, delivered by our pro bono team, provides patients with advice without obligation, for however long it takes to resolve the issue. Our support is available regardless of the circumstances of an accident and regardless of whether a patient has a personal injury claim.
In these difficult times, the concerns of our pro bono clients are likely to be more stark than those in more fortunate circumstances. The Legal Service will be available throughout the crisis to help in any way we can to ease the burden on our clients.
To get advice from The Legal Service, please contact Kara Smith by phone on 020 7822 8000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find further information regarding our injury expertise, experience and team on our Personal Injury pages.