SMU Pro Bono Centre Legal Clinic

The SMU Pro Bono Centre Legal Clinic is administered by the SMU Pro Bono Centre with the help of volunteer lawyers and SMU Law students. The legal clinic started operations in 2013 and has grown from a fortnightly service to a weekly service in 2017. It serves to facilitate access to justice for around 300 applicants each year who are unable to afford a lawyer.

The pro bono (free of charge) legal consultation sessions are available by prior appointment every Friday evening (except for the months of April and November) between 7.00pm to 8.30pm. Applicants to the legal clinic should arrive 20 minutes before their appointment to allow time for registration.

Criteria for free legal advice

The following criteria must be met:

  • Legal issue cannot be on a business, corporate or investment matter;
  • Applicant must not have sought legal advice on the same matter before;
  • Applicant must be from the low income or disadvantaged group.

Information Required

You are required to submit basic information about your case beforehand so that the volunteer lawyer can familiarise themselves with the issue before your appointment. This includes documents such as your employment contract, tenancy agreement, previous court judgments, police reports etc.

It is also important to let us know of any coming court dates or deadlines such as letters of demand. We will try our best to schedule an appointment to meet the urgency of your case if possible.

Location

Singapore Management University
Yong Pung How School of Law
Pro Bono Centre
55 Armenian Street, Basement 2
Singapore 179943

How to contact us

To register for appointment, you may:
  1. Call our hotline at +65 6828 1951
  2. Email us at probonocentre [at] smu.edu.sg (subject: Register%20for%20appointment%20SMU%20Pro%20Bono%20Legal%20Clinic)
  3. Click the link below to register for the Pro Bono Centre Legal Clinic.

Frequently asked questions

Who are the volunteer lawyers?

The volunteer lawyers at the SMU Pro Bono Centre Legal Clinic are Advocates and Solicitors called to  the Singapore Bar. They may be lawyers in private practice or in house counsel. 

What can I expect at the legal consultation session? 

The volunteer lawyer will provide general guidance based on the information that you have provided. It is not intended to replace or supplement the need for professional legal advice and/or legal action. 

The volunteer lawyer cannot act for you outside of the legal clinic.

Can I pick the volunteer lawyer? How are they chosen?

You will not be able to choose the volunteer lawyer. The SMU Pro Bono Centre Legal Clinic will assign your case to the volunteer lawyer who is available.

Can my friend or family member accompany me at the legal clinic?

Yes, your friend or family member can accompany you. This is advisable especially if you are not comfortable speaking in English so that they can help to translate for you. Please inform our staff if you will be accompanied by other persons.

Can my friend or family member attend the legal clinic on my behalf? 

The person facing the legal issue must be present at the legal consultation. Exceptions are only allowed in cases where this is not possible such as the person being in prison or bed bound. Please check with our staff beforehand.

Am I eligible for the SMU Pro Bono Centre Legal Clinic?

You must satisfy the following criteria:

  • The legal issue cannot be on a business, corporate or investment matter;
  • You must not have sought legal advice on the same matter before;
  • You must be from the low income or disadvantaged group.

You will not be eligible if you have engaged a lawyer to act for you already.

After you register the case, the SMU Pro Bono Centre Legal Clinic will confirm if your case is accepted.

Is the legal consultation free?

Yes, it is free of charge. You will not need to pay for the volunteer lawyer’s fee, the venue rental fee, and the case management fee. These fees are waived out of a pro bono spirit to give back to society. 

Where will the SMU Pro Bono Clinic Legal Clinic be held?

The legal consultation will be conducted at the SMU Pro Bono Centre. You will be informed of the date and time of the session.

How long is the legal consultation?

Owing to high demand, each legal consultation session is limited to 20 minutes.

Is the legal consultation confidential?

Yes, all records and what is discussed in the session will be kept confidential.

Please note that an SMU Law student will be present to help with administrative issues during the session. 

Can I return for a follow up consultation?

You should ask all your questions at the first consultation. The volunteer lawyer will also be able to give general pointers on further actions that need to be taken later. 

As this is a free service, you will not be able to return for a follow up consultation on the same matter.

 

Register for an appointment