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Access to free specialist legal advice and support

Free online second tier advice portal provided by the Legal Advice Centre (University House), Bethnal Green.

The portal is principally aimed at supporting generalist advice agencies to undertake specialist legal casework. Users must register to access the portal. This allows us to target the portal where it is needed most. To date, the portal has been very well received, and we have attracted significant funding for this project from a variety of sources.

The focus is on the most vulnerable: Our work focus is on the most vulnerable, and a great deal of our casework is on behalf of people who have complex health and social needs. It is therefore important to us that technology we use does not add to barriers that they face. We embrace the use of new technology but in a way that is very mindful of the realities of peoples’ lives. Our view on the use of technology is to use it to provide access to specialist lawyers, rather than in lieu of it.

How it works: With this in mind, we have created an ‘advice portal’. This is linked to our webcam platform and, in part, includes an electronic booking system aimed at targeted community advice agencies and other key stakeholders. From the 22nd June 2020, each week, ‘advice slots’ on critical legal matters have been made available. It is entirely up to the target local advice networks who, amongst their number, books places on the available slots.

Advice workers can book an appointment to seek support from us to progress a case themselves, or they can make a referral by appointment for us to advise someone directly.

Fulfilling a need: A big issue for our sector is a lack of second-tier support, and an inability to access specialist legal support and casework services. Our portal provides access and ownership to community advice workers. This is a radical model which aims to define a new model of advice and advocacy provision during these challenging times.

Through the portal, community advice workers are also able to access self-help information and professional development support.

Tel: 0203 606 0372 / 0208 980 4205


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