How to Obtain Basic Legal Advice Before Finding Lawyers
There are many options open to people whom want to seek basic legal advice prior to paying for the services of lawyers. These independent advice bodies cannot offer you professional legal representation, but they can provide you with the fundamental information you need in order to consider legal action.
Citizens Advice Bureau (‘CAB’)
This is one of the most prominent advice bodies in the UK. It is entirely composed of trained volunteers and can offer free, independent and confidential advice. Its major areas of expertise are debt, housing and employment. These areas are not definitive as the CAB has access to a huge amount of resources. In light of this, it is a great place to start if you have any problem, which you want some basic information about. Often the CAB will be able to inform you if you have legal grounds on which you can bring a claim. Then you can proceed to obtain legal advice with more confidence.
Pro Bono Legal Surgeries
Many lawyers offer free legal advice surgeries. This is called pro bono (‘for the greater good’) work. These surgeries are a fantastic opportunity for people to spend 15-30 minutes with a lawyer. For example people use this time to establish whether or not they have a legal case to bring or if they have incurred a civil or criminal liability. At the end of the session you will be more informed to whether or not it is worth spending money on appointing lawyers to take on your case.
Pro bono is not only offered by law firms. Many university law schools or professional training providers use the expertise of their students and law professors (of which will have practiced law prior to teaching) to offer free legal advice to the local community. Enquire at your local university or closest professional studies provider for more information.
Free telephone advice from lawyers
Many law firms are happy to provide brief initial advice over the phone without charge. The best way of finding this advice is to go online and search for those lawyers who offer such free advice on their website.
Financial Services Ombudsmen
This service is a branch of the Financial Services Authority (‘FSA’). The ombudsmen help deal with complaints from consumers or businesses concerning financial services. They are an independent and impartial body, which look at cases and provide expert opinions. Not only this but they have the authority to order any business providing financial services to settle a dispute with a consumer. If you are not happy with the opinion of the ombudsmen then you do not have to accept their advice or order, you are always free to seek legal advice. However, if you do accept the order then you become bound by this. If you believe that a business providing financial services has broken a rule or regulation provided by the FSA then this must be taken up with a different regulatory body.
Local Government Ombudsmen
If you have a complaint about a public service such as provided by your local council, then you should contact your local government ombudsmen (‘LGO’) to attempt to resolve the problem. The LGO investigate complaints made against local councils. It is however not under an obligation to investigate all disputes, so it can pick and choose those, which it feels, are worth perusing. The LGO offers independent, impartial and free advice. It also has the same powers as the High Court when it comes to disclosure and investigation of a local authority.
Finally, depending on your financial circumstances and the kind of case you’re involved in, you may be eligible for legal aid [or public funding as it is now known]. However increasingly few solicitors are prepared to offer legal aid services and in any event be aware that there may be circumstances when you need to repay the cost of your legal aid lawyers.
For legal advice in Salisbury or Andover from a solicitor you can trust, contact us today.