Five sets step up to offer free bankruptcy advice

A new pro bono scheme offering representation for people facing bankruptcy petitions is being launched this week by five barristers’ chambers.

Maitland Chambers, Four New Square, XXIV Old Buildings, 3/4 South Square and 4 Stone Buildings are all involved in the pilot scheme, which will run in the Royal Courts of Justice for the next 12 months.

Sharif Shivji of 4 Stone Buildings is leading the project, which will be known as the Personal Insolvency Litigation Advice and Representation Scheme, or Pilars for short.

“It’s reasonably small at this stage, but if it goes well we’ll conquer the world,” said Shivji.

Citizens Advice Bureaux will refer bankruptcy litigants to the panel of about 20 barristers to fight meritorious cases. The project will help those who would otherwise go unrepresented in the courts.

If successful, the pilot will be expanded next year.