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.
Where can I access free help?
To begin, you may wish to find out whether you can obtain the help you need for free. Some of the sources of free advice listed below can give you initial information about what the law says before helping you decide what to do or whether you need legal representation.
Age Cymru runs a free national advice line that is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). To speak to someone, just call 08000 223 444.
If you prefer to talk to someone face to face, the advice line or your local Age Cymru can suggest reliable sources of information and advice. Your local Age Cymru may also have their own information and advice service which can help you with issues such as social care, welfare benefits and housing.
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 offices.
- Visit the Citizens Advice website to find your local Citizens Advice and get advice about your consumer rights.
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.
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.
Can I get help with legal costs?
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 have a low income. Eligible cases might include if you’re at risk of losing your home, or if you have experienced discrimination.
Find out more about legal aid on the .GOV.UK website which contains information about eligibility and how to claim
How do I find a solicitor?
If an advice agency or free service can’t help, you may need to get advice from a private solicitor. This could be for help with 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.
- Search for a solicitor by contacting the Law Society. They will provide 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.
- 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 complain 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.
For more information call Age Cymru Advice on 08000 223 444