The Legal Advice Centre in Wolverhampton has been present in the Mander Centre since 2011, and over the last academic year (September 2016 – May 2017) has assisted more than 70 people in providing generic legal advice in person and in writing, and signposting scores more to other services in the locality to assist with their legal and non-legal issues.
With the availability of legal aid being greatly reduced over recent years following implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, this has left many of the most vulnerable and needy members of society without anywhere or anyone to turn to for free and independent legal advice.
The University of Wolverhampton has attempted to assist in filling this gap, in providing students who, under supervision of practising solicitors and academics, will interview clients, research legal issues, and provide general legal advice and information to help people make informed decisions in respect of employment law issues, consumer and contract matters, property and probate law.
The Centre has however, always received a high number of enquirers requiring assistance in respect of their family law and divorce issues, an area of law which has also been affected by the legal aid cuts, limiting access to justice where the purse strings do not allow instruction of private representation.
Thus, the Legal Advice Centre has joined forces with local firm Thornes Solicitors and will hold a family law clinic on Wednesday 25 October 2017 between 11am and 1pm where members of the public can drop in with their family law, child and divorce issues for free consultations with Ben Thorne, Associate Solicitor at the firm. Each consultation will last around 20 minutes, and it is not necessary to book an appointment. Members of the public are encouraged to drop into the Centre and take advantage of this service, and slots will be allocated accordingly. Students will get involved in assisting during the interviews, taking notes, and shadowing the legal advisor, providing them with invaluable work and practical experience in a legal setting.
For further information, please contact the Legal Advice Centre Manager, Beverley Rizzotto on Beverley.email@example.com or 01902321749.