In order to ensure that our limited resources have their maximum impact, LAC follows certain guidelines. These are:
For the most part, everyone who visits LAC will be provided with assistance of some sort; however, we do not offer advice on Immigration, Asylum, or Criminal law matters.
As a general rule, advice and assistance on all other matters will be provided within the constraints of our service.
Most help will be in the form of making representations on behalf of users. In some cases, we will also draft pleadings and related documents, but this will strictly be limited to tribunal and small claims matters.
We will not provide assistance to a user who, in our judgement, has a hopeless case. During the course of a case we have a duty to monitor and consider the merits of a claim, and there will be situations where we reserve the right to withdraw from assisting you further.
During our weekly Family Law Clinic only, we will not be able to support and act for perpetrators of domestic violence. If disclosure is made to us at a later stage, we reserve the right to cease to act in these cases.
We are NOT able to act in any matter where a conflict of interest or a significant risk of a conflict of interest has been identified i.e. a conflict between two or more clients or when circumstances prevent the solicitor from acting in the client’s best interests.
As a general rule, LAC will not go on record in tribunal and/ or small claims court matters (the only exception to this rule concerns specialist employment and welfare benefit matters, which are covered by service level agreements).
Our case management, by necessity, is reactive. In practice, this means that upon receiving a written response to representations made on behalf of a user, that response is copied to the user under the cover of a standard letter inviting the user to contact us if they require further advice and assistance on the matter. As a rule, we will not chase a user for a response and no further work will be done until a user come back to the centre in person to give further instructions. It is therefore extremely important that a user keeps us informed of their requirements.
At LAC’s complete discretion, we will inform users that their cases (regardless of whether we have previously provided support) should be pursued by other agencies or means. For clarification, we may take such a view in a housing repossession matter where it becomes clear that the user would be able to obtain assistance from a legal aid provider.
We may also take the view if we felt that our representations were having a limited effect and that the user’s case would be better served by the full attentions of an instructed firm of high street solicitors.
You must inform us whenever you change address or there are other important developments in your personal circumstances. Please remember to quote your reference number whenever you contact us, this is the number at the top left-hand corner of any letter, above the address. The Centre is often very busy and if you need to discuss your case then you should telephone the Centre on 02089 804205 or you can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are not able to answer the telephone during drop in times.
The Centre will not continue to act for clients who show abusive or discriminatory behaviour towards staff or other users.
As a general rule, the Centre will not hold any original documents, but will take copies or scans.
Please see the attached Privacy Notice for details on how we use your personal information.
LAC has a formal complaints procedure. If for some reason you have a complaint about our service, then please ask to speak with LAC’s Director.
Our Welfare Benefits drop in session is on Monday morning at 9.30am. Our evening drop in sessions are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5.30pm and Thursday from 6.30pm. Our Family Law Clinic operates on Tuesday evenings at 5.30pm (see handout for location details).
For our drop in sessions you are advised to arrive when the doors open as the session will close as soon as it is full for safety reasons. Sorry but no further entry once the door is closed.