Various forms of public legal education have been carried out in the United Kingdom for decades. Citizens Advice bureaus provided legal information services similar to those provided by many PLE organizations in Canada. Since 1995, The Citizenship Foundation has been engaged in the kinds of activities in schools that elsewhere, particularly in Canada and the United States, is referred to as law-related education.
The term, public legal education itself, was introduced in the UK in early 2000s. In September 2004, the Advice Services Alliance, The Citizenship Foundation, and the Legal Action Group published a consultation paper, Towards a national strategy for public legal education (UK) 2004. That was followed by the creation of a Public Legal Education and Support Task Force chaired by Dame Hazel Genn DBE QC. In 2007, the task force issued it report, Developing Capable citizens – the role of public legal education 2007. The Public Legal Education Network (plenet) was formed to implement the recommendations of the task force. In 2009 it invited delegates from the UK and internationally to its Legal Empowerment Conference to raise the profile of this work. Publications of Plenet of interest include PLE principles and guidance Plenet UK. The on-going PLE activities in the UK are now carried out by Law for Life.