If you do not have a local Law Centre where you live, you might still get help with your problem. Here are some sources of information and advice.
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This is an online directory of advice available on legal aid basis. It can be searched by area of law and location.
Gov.UK (formerly DirectGov) is the Government's portal for public services. This section explains what is covered by legal aid and how eligibility for it is calculated.
This website provides diverse information, aiming to help you make sense of the law and your rights.
AdviceUK is a membership network for advice organisations, and their website has a useful help and advice section.
This links to a series of short online talks about how members of the public can instruct a barrister directly, and how to make the process cheaper and more effective.
You may be able to access legal help through BPBU if you cannot afford to pay and cannot access legal aid. As BPBU does not take calls directly from the public, you will need to be referred to them though a local advice organisation or Law Centre.
This is a joint resource for people living or working in London who are seeking advice related to money worries, problems at work or benefits issues.
The School of Law at Queen Mary, University of London, offers free legal advice to any member of the public on a wide variety of areas. Advice is provided by law students under the supervision of a qualified lawyer. If they cannot advise you on your problem, they will signpost you to another appropriate organisation.
Children and Education
CCLC is a national charity that promotes children's rights and provides advice on related matters.
AvMA is the UK charity for patient safety and justice, and advises people who are affected by medical accidents.
The information and advice service formerly known as Consumer Direct is now operated by Citizens Advice. The service handles general consumer issues, as well as complaints about energy companies and the postal service.
Debt and Money Advice
Telephone helpline from the Money Advice Trust that gives free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems. Can also be contacted by email for advice.
Debt advice charity that offers a free and confidential telephone helpline. If you cannot make a free call, you can also ask CCCS to call you back instead. The website also offers an online tool to help manage bills and spending.
Website with useful information, tools, calculators, planners and tips on managing your money. MAS can also be contacted by phone or by by live web chat.
DLS runs a service operated by people with disabilities and for them. They provide information and advice about disability rights as well as on tackling discrimination against people with disabilities.
EASS can inform you about your rights and options with regard to equality and discrimination matters, either by telephone or by email. Please note that EASS is not able to give legal advice.
The ACAS website provides detailed information and guidance on various workplace and employment issues. They also operate a confidential and impartial helpline on 0300 123 1100.
University of Law Advice Line
From April 2013 legal aid is no longer available for employment law, except in cases involving discrimination. This makes it much more difficult to find free advice on these matters.
The University of Law is operating an advice line on employment law. To make initial contact please call 01483 216 528. You will be asked for some details about yourself and, if appropriate, get a telephone appointment which may take place between 6pm-8pm. The service is operated by qualified solicitors with law students assisting.
This service is provided by BPP School of Law. Three regional access numbers are available. As above, leave your name, contact number and basic details of your problem and you will be contacted in the evening with advice. More details on the ELTAL page.
University of Law Advice Line
From April 2013 legal aid is no longer available for most family law cases. This makes it much more difficult to find free advice on these matters.
The University of Law is operating an advice line on family law. To make initial contact please call 01483 216 528. You will be asked for some details about yourself and, if appropriate, get a telephone appointment which may take place between 5:30pm-7:30pm. The service is operated by qualified solicitors with law students assisting.
Shelter is a large natioal charity that campaigns and provides advice on housing and homelessness. Their website contains plenty of information and also contact details for getting advice.
Do you have a condition that you worry might mean you would lose your capacity to think clearly and express your will? In situations of end-of-life care, some tough decisions need to be made. To make sure that your wishes are known to everyone caring for you, you can draw up a 'living will'. Click here for the organisation My Living Will to read more and to create your own living will.
Among its many functions, the Howard League for Penal Reform offers ways of accessing advice either directly or by helping people find a solicitor specialising in prison law.
PAS provides legal advice and information to prisoners about their rights and conditions.
The charity Rights of Women is offering free, confidential legal advice for women in England and Wales. All their advisers are women solicitors or barristers with expertise in the relevant areas of law. Please ring during the relevant advice line session. We cannot advise outside of the advice line times or by email. We can only advise in English on the law as it is applied in England and Wales.
Family law advice line for advice on issues including domestic violence and abuse; divorce and civil partnership dissolution; relationship breakdown; issues relating to children, including parental responsibility, child contact and residence. Please call 020 7251 6577 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone) on Tuesdays 7pm-9pm, Wednesdays 7pm-9pm, Thursdays 7pm-9pm and Fridays 12noon-2pm.
Immigration and asylum law advice line for advice on issues including the rights of EEA nationals and their family members; claiming asylum in the UK; trafficking; domestic violence and immigration law; and no recourse to public funds. Please call 020 7490 7689 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone) on Mondays 2pm-4pm and Wednesdays 11am-1pm.
Criminal law advice line for advice on issues including sexual offences, including rape and sexual assault; domestic violence and harassment; reporting offences to the police and the criminal justice system; the rights of victims, witnesses and defendants; and criminal injuries compensation. Please call 020 7251 8887 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone) on Tuesdays 11am-1pm.
Doing it without legal advice
There are several guides available online for download which help 'litigants in person', or people representing themselves, to go about it. [Please note, these guides were not prepared by LCN and we are not responsible for their contents.]
Sorting it out without a lawyer:
Guides for anything from Jobcentre interviews to overpaid tax credits, from Advice Now.
Going to court or tribunal without a lawyer:
A handful of guides and videos for various situations, from Advice Now.
Small claims court :
LeO is a free service that has the power to resolve complaints about lawyers.
FOS settles complaints about banks, insurers and other financial services.
PHSO considers complaints about government departments, many public bodies, and the NHS in England.
IPCC independently handles complaints about the police in England and Wales.