Savannah Laurent focuses on family law (both private and public law), Court of Protection and property law. To celebrate Pro Bono Week, she discusses one of her pro bono cases from the past year.
Please tell us about the pro bono work you did
While a student, I volunteered regularly with the Free Representation Unit, and while at my previous chambers volunteered regularly with the Anglia Ruskin Law Clinic.
More recently, through a referral from Pro Bono Connect, I represented pro bono a father in private law children proceedings. My client was granted contact with his son after several years’ separation.
What impact did the pro bono work have on the people and communities you worked with?
Most importantly after years of not seeing his child, my client now has a court order to allow him to have contact with his son. He is delighted to be able to get involved in his son’s life once again.
The court’s order will assist the parents to co-parent in their son’s best interests, despite their own strained relationship, and allow the child to develop a relationship with his father.
My instructing solicitor wrote me a lovely email after the final hearing explaining what it had meant to the client.
'Thank you so much for helping him get to this point. He said you were brilliant today and he knows he would have really struggled without you… It's so great to have reached a conclusion on this case which started two years ago'.
Did your pro bono work have an impact on your professional career? If so, in what ways?
This case was similar to many cases that I do on a paid basis, and so didn’t impact the trajectory of my career. That said, I was pleased to be able to help the client.
Any final comments
I think it is important that as many people as possible have access to support, advice, and representation when going through court proceedings. The process itself is often stressful and daunting, on top of the pressure and upset of the situation that brings people to court in the first place. A bit of timely advice and help can make a real difference.