The PSU (‘Personal Support Unit’) is an award winning charity founded in 2001. Based in the Civil and Family Courts, it provides practical and emotional support to litigants in person – people who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford a lawyer.
PSU volunteers support litigants to represent themselves to the best of their ability. They provide help with completing paperwork and understanding court process, signpost to sources of free and affordable legal advice where these are in place, help litigants work out what they need to say in their hearings, accompany litigants to hearings, and help litigants understand what has happened in hearings and with next steps.
Did you know...
PSU’s 700 volunteers and 36 staff provide services from 23 court-based locations across England and Wales.
PSU volunteers have now provided support to Litigants in Person on 300,000 occasions since the charity was founded in 2001. More than 75% of that help (241,500) has been provided in the last five years, since April 2013.
It costs less than £20.00 each time a litigant in person is helped.
99% of their clients said the PSU volunteers helped them better prepare for their case
97% of their clients felt the PSU volunteer helped them get a fairer hearing
99% of clients said the PSU volunteer helped make the procedure clearer
99% of clients felt that the PSU volunteer helped them have more confidence
What makes PSU different
They are the only charity supporting people in courts on a daily basis and we are also the largest provider of work experience for law students. Their trained volunteers provide emotional and practical support to clients throughout the court process. They ensure those facing court alone can represent themselves with dignity and support them to fully take part in court to better access justice. In 2017/18 volunteers supported clients on over 65,000 occasions.
Their volunteers support people at times of extreme stress, enabling them to present their case to the best of their ability. This gives them a far greater chance of accessing justice. Support from their volunteers can have a direct impact on the outcome of a client's case and in consequence on the rest of their lives.
Other ways to support
Supporters can help the PSU in many ways outside of donations. They can attend an event, raise money through doing a sponsored challange, connect on social media and promote their work, or become a volunteer and help people going through court.