Free Legal Advice and Access to Justice
We’re giving our time to volunteer at the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Every week, one of our family lawyers runs a clinic at Solihull Citizens Advice Bureau to provide free legal advice for those with family law and other legal issues who would otherwise struggle to pay legal fees.
Legal aid cuts looming
Legal Aid in England and Wales will be cut from April 2013. These cuts will affect a range of disputes including divorce, housing problems and clinical negligence.
The Ministry of Justice says legal aid will still be provided to “those who most need it”, which some might find reassuring.
The worry is that people who can’t afford to pay privately for legal representation may try to resolve their own disputes. This would likely lead to their problems increasing.
A local firm looking to do what it can
Sharn Nijjar, an Associate Solicitor in the Family Law department says “As a firm we feel that it is important that we carry out activities that benefit the local community and reach out to those in need.
With the impending cuts to public funding (previously known as Legal Aid) in April of this year, there will be many people who will not be able to afford the cost of legal advice and will be looking to voluntary organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau to help them. As a local firm, we endeavour to do all we can to help.”
Advice on a pro bono basis
Kiran Bram from the Citizens Advice Bureau says “We are delighted to be working in partnership with a local firm of Solicitors. Sharn Nijjar has been providing clients from the bureau with advice on a pro bono basis and this has enabled clients to get free initial advice.
This service has been very well used by our clients and we have had excellent feedback. We hope we can continue to build on this relationship”.
Ways of making legal advice more accessible
We are considering new ways of making private legal advice more accessible.
We already offer a fixed-fee divorce package so clients can see exactly what their legal costs will be, allowing them to budget accordingly.
This is in addition to the free 30 minute initial consultation offered to all new clients wishing to speak with a family solicitor about any family law issues they may have.
Will legal aid cuts in April affect you?
We’d love to hear your views on the cuts to legal aid due to be introduced in April 2013.
Leave a comment and let us know what you think.