We work in collaboration with dedicated and committed solicitors and advisors from member law firms and corporate in house teams, law schools and law students to deliver social welfare legal advice which is impacting lives across the country
We partner with advice agencies including Law Centres and Citizens Advice and charitable organisations including Together for Short Lives and Macmillan Cancer Support to ensure legal advice is available where there is an identified need.
Over the last year 29,000 people who could not afford legal help have been supported through the clinics network and over 160 Not for Profits supporting a range of beneficiaries have benefited from free legal advice .
Case Study: Macmillan Work Support Service
Macmillan and LawWorks collaborate on a national pilot scheme called the Work Support Service (“WSS”).
WSS provides employment-related support for people with cancer and their carers.
Macmillan staff provide triage for initial phone calls, give general advice where they are able and, if necessary, refer clients on to pro bono lawyers supplied by LawWorks member firm, Jones Day, for legally complex cases or where the client is considering an employment tribunal.
“Because of the cuts to legal aid, there are very few places that our customers can go to get free legal help. Being able to provide access to good quality advice is really important to us and we feel that we have been able to do this, with the support of LawWorks”. Liz Egan, the Programme Lead at Macmillan Cancer Support
Case Study: Shelter from the Storm Pro Bono Legal Advice Clinic
LawWorks was approached by Andrew Hochhauser QC who asked us to help set up a new legal advice clinic for residents at Shelter from the Storm (SFTS), a homeless shelter in Islington, London which provides food and beds for around 44 people. LawWorks approached Islington Law Centre who agreed to provide the infrastructure, supervision and professional indemnity insurance required for volunteer lawyers. The clinic started in February 2014 and continues to thrive.
LawWorks also introduced the SFTS team to existing LawWorks Clinics Network members Hackney Winter Night Shelter Legal Advice Clinic. The resulting collaboration coordinates clinic services and enables residents from other homeless shelters to access legal advice on issues including family law, housing, immigration and welfare benefits.
Successes have included reversing an immigration status decision (thus allowing a resident to remain in the country) and finding a client social housing the very next day.
“The LawWorks staff involved have been instrumental to its success, without which the clinic would never have got off the ground" Andrew Hochhauser QC
Case Study: Together for Short Lives
Presenting Problem: The family had recently lost their daughter after what they describe as a mismanagement of her complex health needs during a stay in the hospital. The family were seeking recognition of the short comings in addition to changes being made to prevent the same thing happening to another child and family. The family were clear that they were not seeking compensation and were entirely motivated by the desire to prevent another death.
Action Taken: A volunteer solicitor advocate for the project worked with the family to identify the key concerns of the family and to prepare a complaint to be sent to the hospital. The volunteer solicitor worked with the family to draft a letter to the hospital outlining their concerns and their desired response. The volunteer facilitated communication between the family and the hospital and supported the family through the complaint procedure.
Outcome Achieved: The hospital have responded to the complaint indicating that a thorough investigation would be carried out into the death of the family’s daughter. The hospital also identified several areas where improvements would be made prior to the results of the investigation that would be implemented immediately.
Case Study: Together for Short Lives
Presenting Problem: The mother of a young man (over 18) with a life-limiting condition was expecting a second child. The current home of the family was too small to accommodate the growing family. Previously the social workers had recommended the young man be placed in a residential care facility that could meet his needs, however; at the time mum was not open to this. The mother previously struggled with depression and felt unsure about how she would cope with her severely disabled son, unsuitable accommodation and a new born while maintaining her sound mental health. She consequently wanted to place her son in a residential facility which she chose for its ability to meet her son’s needs. The local authority was refusing to consider her preferred facility and was pushing for the young many to attend a different residential facility with inadequate services for her son.
Action Taken: A volunteer solicitor advocate for the Together for Families project helped the family write a letter outlining the needs of the family, the needs of the young person and the rationale for choosing the facility they had. The advocate helped the mother prepare for a panel meeting and prepared a letter outlining the desires of the family.
Outcome Achieved: The young person moved into a suitable residential facility. Although he facility was not the one identified by the family, it was one that met the needs of both the young man and his family and the family were very excited to see him move into a home where he could receive long term care and education.
Case Study: Teeside Law Clinic at Teeside University
With the launch of Operation Yewtree and the number of high profile prosecutions, more and more victims of historic sexual abuse are finding the courage to come forward but many victims are being denied their rightful compensation due to a legal loophole.
Teesside Law Clinic, a student-run legal advice clinic at Teesside University, has launched a legal challenge on behalf of its client to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in a bid to secure fair pay-outs for historic sex abuse victims.Under the current scheme, compensation is not paid if the criminal injury was sustained before 1 October 1979 and, at the time of the incident, the victim and the perpetrator were living together as members of the same family. The rule in question is commonly known as the ‘Same Roof Rule’.
The client, who is being represented by Teesside Law Clinic and cannot be named for legal reasons, was sexually assaulted and raped by her stepfather who was subsequently jailed for 11 and a half years. She is 'outraged' that she cannot claim compensation because the offences happened before October 1979 and she lived under the same roof as her abuser. Speaking anonymously she said: 'It's not fair to discriminate like this. My case is not about the money, it is about the principle, because this is wrong.
Teesside Law Clinic is arguing that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is discriminatory on the grounds of age and it treats those born prior to 1 October 1979 who were victims of abuse, less favourably than those born after that date.Teesside law Clinic believes it could be the start of a long journey to secure justice and compensation for historic sex abuse victims, but a worthwhile journey to secure justice.
“Many small voluntary organisations can barely meet their core costs let alone pay for legal advice - LawWorks is an invaluable service.” (Not-For-Profits Programme applicant)
Find out more
To speak to a member of the LawWorks Team about how to get involved in our programmes please contact us.