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Public Legal Education (PLE) provides people with awareness, knowledge and understanding of rights and legal issues, together with the skills and confidence necessary to deal with disputes and gain access to justice. It also helps people recognise when they may need support, what sort of advice is available, and how to go about getting it.

The term PLE is used to refer to a wide range of activities aimed at enhancing people’s ‘legal capability’. This work can be broadly categorised into education and training initiatives and research activities.

An APPG on Public Legal Education was established in 2016 with the purpose of educating the public about the legal system; increasing understanding in Parliament of public legal education; and, providing a forum for parliamentarians to work with organisations in the field to ensure a supportive policy environment.  

In 2017 the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland, announced the launch of a new panel to drive forward legal education initiatives. According to the press release, the panel will promote the importance of teaching people about the law and their basic civil and criminal rights. the Solicitor General said:

Teaching people about their legal rights and responsibilities, together with helping them gain the confidence and skills to get access to justice can really make a difference to people’s lives – as well as our legal system.

The new Panel will help drive forward Public Legal Education so more people can reap the benefits.

The Panel, which is chaired by the Solicitor General, includes representatives from the following organisations: Citizenship Foundation, Legal Education Foundation, the Law Society, Bar Council, CILEx, Magistrates’ Association, Ministry of Justice, Judicial Office, Solicitors Regulation Authority, Citizens Advice, Law for life, Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, Youth Access and Law Centres Federation.  

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