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Most of us need legal help at some point in our lives, whether it’s to sort out a problem with benefits, help you write a will, or sell your home.

Depending on the advice you need, it could be available for free. Some of the sources of free advice listed below can give you initial advice before helping you decide what to do. Others may be able to help with more complex cases and even represent you at a tribunal.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice offers free advice on a wide range of issues, including benefits, housing or employment problems. They can provide advice over the phone or in person at one of their local bureau. Visit the Citizens Advice consumer website to find your local bureau and get advice about your consumer rights.

Law centres

Law centres offer free legal advice in their centres across the country. They cover topics such as benefits, employment, housing, immigration and asylum, discrimination, and debt. To find your local centre, visit the Law Centres Network website.

Trade unions

If you’re a member of a trade union, you may be able to get free legal advice through them, not just about employment-related issues. Contact your union rep to find out what they offer.

Legal aid

Legal aid can sometimes help people with the cost of legal advice or bringing a case to tribunal. It’s not available for everyone – it’s only for eligible cases, and only if you can’t afford to pay for legal costs yourself. Eligible cases might include when you’re at risk of losing your home, or if you have experienced discrimination. To find out more about legal aid, see the Gov.uk website, which contains information about eligibility and how to claim.

How to find a solicitor

Sometimes an advice agency or free service won’t be able to help you, and you’ll need to get advice from a private solicitor. You may need help making a will, setting up a lasting power of attorney, buying or selling a house, or getting a divorce.

Different solicitors specialise in different areas of law, such as criminal, divorce or employment law.

You can search for a solicitor by contacting the Law Society. They won’t recommend a particular solicitor, so if you have several options, call a few to compare the service they offer. Don’t forget to ask them about their fees so you can see which one is affordable for you. You can check a solicitor’s record with the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority and make sure they are registered with them before you hire them.

If you aren’t happy with the service you get from a solicitor, you can make a complaint. You should complaint to the solicitor’s firm directly first. If you feel that your complaint isn’t resolved, contact the Legal Ombudsman, which can investigate complaints about solicitors. Their service is free and independent.

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081