Every year thousands of people find themselves facing the battle of their life in court, alone and without help. They have to represent themselves in cases of divorce, contact with children, or eviction from their homes. Under distressing circumstances, they must navigate a complex legal system, often against professional representation on the other side.

In times of austerity the reduced availability of legal aid has meant that thousands more people face the civil and family courts alone. Their access to justice is at risk, as they feel overwhelmed and struggle to represent themselves effectively in court.

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.


Invicta House, Golden Lane

Contact Number

020 7073 1703