Pro Bono Week profile: Anna Dannreuther

02 November 2021

Please tell us about the pro bono work you did

I am pleased to be able to say that I have managed to do a few pieces of pro bono walk in the past year.

I helped a Polish woman and her daughter apply for EU Settlement Scheme status before the deadline for applications on 30 June 2021 as part of the Here For Good EUSS Project. The project is run in conjunction with Advocate (the Bar pro bono charity).

Through Advocate, I also advised an employee about their employment law rights after they whistleblew about furlough fraud within their company (that is, being required to work while on furlough).

Also through Advocate, I advised a family member concerned about their mother’s care plan. My advice covered the legal framework under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and considering whether Court of Protection proceedings should be brought. I also advised on the possibility of challenging the local authority and the NHS trust for declining to share information with this immediate family member.

What impact did the pro bono work have on the people and communities you worked with?

The legal advice I gave helped my clients feel supported and fully informed of their options in scenarios where those are not always clear. As a consequence, they were then able to make fully informed decisions in their respective circumstances.

I am yet to find out the outcome of the EU Settlement Scheme applications, but I am hopeful they will be granted. If so, it will have a tremendously beneficial impact on my clients’ lives, as they will avoid the ‘hostile environment’ and be able to continue living and working in the UK (hopefully) free of problems concerning their immigration status.

Did your pro bono work have an impact on your professional career? If so, in what ways?

My Court of Protection-related case particularly gave me the chance to work with a different client base in mental capacity work.

I undertake a lot of that type of work for local authorities but am less familiar with working with family members challenging care decisions. It was helpful to see the issues facing a family member at close quarters and has enhanced my ability to provide an objective viewpoint when advising my local authority clients in my day-to-day practice.

It has also fuelled my interest in representing more family members in such cases in the future.

Any final comments

Given the challenges in obtaining legal aid in many employment law and Court of Protection matters, I think it’s important to do this type of pro bono work as much as possible.