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7. Personal Support Unit: assistance to LIPs in London and Manchester courts

A brief explanation of the work of the Public Support Unit

The Public Support Unit (PSU) is an independent charity, based in the main building at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, London.  The PSU provides non-legal advice, help, information and support to litigants in person and to any member of the public attending at the Royal Courts of Justice who may need help or assistance.  They also operate at the Principal Registry of the Family Division at First Avenue House, High Holborn, at Wandsworth County Court, and in Manchester.

Their volunteers are made up of students undertaking the Bar Professional Training Course.  The service they provide is similar to that of a McKenzie Friend; they will understand court procedure and can talk you through it; they know the court lay-out and often know the judges at the PSU-supported courts.  Their service is entirely free of charge.

They do not give legal advice but provide practical and emotional support.  Their trained volunteers can:

· Help you get around the building and find court offices;

· Provide a safe and quiet place to sit before and after court hearings;

· Accompany you into court;

· Talk through your case with you;

· Help you with paperwork

· Quietly give advice; and

· Find answers to simple questions.

They have a website here: http://www.thepsu.co.uk/.

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